Author Topic: a non-literal interpretation of Genesis  (Read 892 times)

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Offline anti_nietzsche

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a non-literal interpretation of Genesis
« on: August 11, 2011, 09:49:15 AM »
I would like to know what you think of non-literal interpretation of some parts of scripture. Take, for example, the account of the creation of man in Genesis. Literalism would hold that there was a literal first man who was created by God personally and individually. But a non-literal interpretation of this account could be that what is described here is the creation of MANKIND, not of a single man. This opens up all kinds of interesting consequences. For example, the account of what happened in Eden could be about how man developed over the bounds of a mere animalistic nature. We were facing our first real choices, about what is good and what is evil. The whole concept of good and evil came up, and our God with whom we lived in close communion up to then, told us to leave such decisions to Him and instead to enjoy and devote ourselves to the "tree of life". A tree is something huge which develops from a small seed. It has many branches. It is something which can be climbed. Good and evil, and life, are things which branch out very far, it's always going on and on with these things. But the tree of good and evil was a dangerous path, it gave man a quality our Maker did not intend for us, a divine quality for which we had not been meant. Or perhaps, a quality that we were supposed to get to later, after we had gained more maturity. Instead of sticking with the tree of life which would have satisfied us indefinetly, we chose the tree of good and evil. Also, the tree of life could have meant our life with God. So when we were punished for eating from the good and evil tree, we also lost our life with God. God became distant to us. Or maybe the Eden account is about one single choice ... would we obey God and reap everlasting life? Or would we disobey and become mortal like all the other animals? Some christians believe that before we sinned in Eden, there was no death, not even in the animal kingdom. But that is hard to believe for me, because life with birth and growing, on this Earth, requires that there is death. The Earth can only sustain a limited number of living beings, so there needs to be death. But given that we were special in God's eyes, being made in His image and all, being His own offspring, we were supposed to be safe from death. But instead we failed this test. Something happened. Mankind didn't develop as it was intended. Adam, mankind, ... failed an important test. Knowledge of good and evil, please think about it in terms of life. Does the good always sustain life? Does knowledge of evil really do good to life? The fear of evil, what does it do to us? The love for the good, isn't it kind of merciless? I mean, if God would not rule and only perfect goodness would be the measure, we'd all need to be like Mother Therese. The good would be a merciless killer. So I think what happened back then was that God offered us to handle the matters of good and evil for us. He would command and we would only need to obey. The tree of good and evil had to be in the garden, we were allowed to look at it. But to consume it, to actually gain this knowledge of good and evil, it meant our death. We probably simply said to God, please resign and let us be gods. And that's what happened, instead of being men, fully alive in God, we became a race of foolish and dying gods.

And that's what Jesus was going to remedy. In Him we shake off our godhood and gain Jesus-hood instead. We leave the good and evil decisions to God and care much more about life. It is better to let go of these decisions and instead to care much more for the difference of life and death, that we need to promote life over death, that we have the fullness of life in Christ instead of hunting after the matters of good and evil.

Imagine a Hitler who would have igored good and evil and simply cared about life, if that would be the habit of man. He could have hated the jews as much as he'd like, if he loved life the thought of killing them would have never occured to him. He would have been weird and eccentric, but the love of life would have kept him sane. I think a human cannot fully resist evil. Jesus actually tells us to let that go entirely and to turn the other cheek. We're supposed to follow the trace of life. And if we have the life of Christ, death cannot scare us, Jesus took care of this problem on the cross. Why trying to bind ourselves to our fear of death and then trying to protect life with the good and eradicating the danger posited by evil? God wants to solve this for us. Instead we can always, every day, simply enjoy life and follow the way of life in Christ. It's a whole other way of being in the world. We don't take refuge in the imitation of God's divinity, we take refuge in God's humanity in Christ. We can live with God fully, if we only fast from the good and evil thing and love life.

Love of life is what's lacking in this world, a true, juicy, warm, kind and patient love for life. Love for life must be the reason of why we oppose abortion, not the denounciation of aborters as evil people. They are not, they are usually distressed about it. They are not good either because they are killing, and that's sinful, but eye for an eye has been abolished, we shall forgive! And love for life doesn't leave things be with isolated things like abortion. Love for life also makes us support single or very young or very poor women, who then won't feel the need to abort babies. Love for life let's us support old people, the sick, just as well as letting us enjoy music, games, sports and the arts.

Life is our authentic concern. Good and evil, on the other hand, is a divine concern. But we can trust our God, He is love. None of the many deciders of good and evil in the world is such a lover as our God!

Offline micah7:9

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Re: a non-literal interpretation of Genesis
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2011, 11:33:34 AM »
My thoughts......

"it gave man a quality our Maker did not intend for us,"  If our Maker had not intended for what happened in the garden, it would not have happened.

"But instead we failed this test. Something happened. Mankind didn't develop as it was intended. Adam, mankind, ... failed an important test"
No test was failed, man was weak spiritually, for he knew nothing of spiritual strength. Mankind developed as it was purposed. To consider otherwise
is to say that the Creator had erred, and I will not and cannot accept that.

"I think a human cannot fully resist evil."
Rom 8:20 for to vanity was the creation made subject--not of its will, but because of Him who did subject it --in hope,
Rom 8:21  that also the creation itself shall be set free from the servitude of the corruption to the liberty of the glory of the children of God;

"Love of life is what's lacking in this world, a true, juicy, warm, kind and patient love for life. "
Joh 12:25 he who is loving his life shall lose it, and he who is hating his life in this world--to life age-during shall keep it;

Peace and Love Through Jesus
Mic 7:8  Thou dost not rejoice over me, O mine enemy, When I have fallen, I have risen, When I sit in darkness Jehovah is a light to me.

Offline anti_nietzsche

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Re: a non-literal interpretation of Genesis
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2011, 07:47:49 AM »
Hi Micah,

I don't think God intended for me to spend so much time with porn many years ago. It was my sin. I don't think such things are pre-ordained or intended. It would make much of the bible meaningless, and reality would only be God's one-man-show. I know it's kind of comforting to think of your sins as preordained things, but it's just not true.

When I say we cannot fully resist evil I mean that we cannot eradicate it without damaging something, we cannot strike back always, and sometimes we must suffer instead of having the victory. Jesus taught that we should turn the other cheek. I suppose this means we can still say, "Please don't do this", but we're not gods that we should place ourselves so high that we should avenge ourselves. We just keep going a certain blessed path, the only blessed path, that's our resistance.

And about loving life, I think we misunderstand again. To love life doesn't mean that I only delight in MY OWN life or some such thing, like the rioteers in London enjoy rioting and rebelling. It means I see the good things in life, that I develop an understanding for life and how it's meant. That I enjoy both the tough things and the easy things about it as a gift of God, that I pursue giving life instead of taking it away. This is what Jesus does, He aims at giving us life more abundantly. But the life of Jesus is righteous life. We shall not squander it, and that's why, like the scripture you cited says, we hate OUR life IN THIS WORLD, the way of life the world forces us to lead, many compromises with righteousness we are forced to make, the injust conditions on this world as far as the distribution of wealth, human rights, the availability of health care and such are concerned. But we're not supposed to not enjoy being alive anymore. It's still a good thing to enjoy being alive, going to work, having leisure time, buying something you always wanted to have, sitting together with your friends in the evening and drinking a beer, playing computer games, watching a movie, having a garden or whatever else suits you. The book of Ecclesiastes speaks about that many times and it's inspired scripture too. Life is not always life like God intends it. Life like God intends it is supremely good, and I don't mean a huge standard of living with that, I simply mean a certain freedom, a certain quality, and being safe in it, like the prophets say when they promise us that we shall sit under our olive trees and no one will scare us away from our homes. That's not nonsense or crap, it's something the masses of the world long for, and justifiedly so!

Offline shawn

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Re: a non-literal interpretation of Genesis
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2011, 06:25:12 PM »
Anti said...

I don't think God intended for me to spend so much time with porn many years ago. It was my sin. I don't think such things are pre-ordained or intended. It would make much of the bible meaningless, and reality would only be God's one-man-show. I know it's kind of comforting to think of your sins as preordained things, but it's just not true.

Amen.

Offline micah7:9

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Re: a non-literal interpretation of Genesis
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2011, 08:41:15 PM »
"I don't think God intended for me to spend so much time with porn many years ago. It was my sin. I don't think such things are pre-ordained or intended. It would make much of the bible meaningless, and reality would only be God's one-man-show. I know it's kind of comforting to think of your sins as preordained things, but it's just not true. "

I did not say anything to do with "pre-ordained or intended" it has to do with the circumstances and situations that God allows and man makes the "choice."  The porn came into your life, because there is porn, and you chose to involve yourself in it. Without the Holy Spirit, man will just "naturally" chose sin. Man is a sinning machine.

This life as we know it is just a temporary small amount of time, it is but a wisp of a passing second. It is a good life should one be blessed. But it seems to me that the more satisfied, successful, and happy one has become in this life, they dont want to let it go. But the life that is offered by and from Jesus, is life that is so much greater and more abundant, yet should one be born again, it seems they are still very reluctant to let this earthly life go.
Mic 7:8  Thou dost not rejoice over me, O mine enemy, When I have fallen, I have risen, When I sit in darkness Jehovah is a light to me.

Offline sheila

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Re: a non-literal interpretation of Genesis
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2011, 09:16:52 PM »
 porn was from the beginning..in the garden the adversary lusted after Adam and Eve's naked flesh...and lied to deceive to pour out

 all the wickedness in his wicked heart upon the flesh of men[an enemy has sown tares in the feild]

  you see,Our Father would have his spirit dwell in us and give us life.....the evil  spirit inclination is to use and kill  for selfish purposes...

   and so the differnce is love or lust

Offline micah7:9

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Re: a non-literal interpretation of Genesis
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2011, 01:04:29 AM »
porn was from the beginning..in the garden the adversary lusted after Adam and Eve's naked flesh...and lied to deceive to pour out

 all the wickedness in his wicked heart upon the flesh of men[an enemy has sown tares in the feild]

  you see,Our Father would have his spirit dwell in us and give us life.....the evil  spirit inclination is to use and kill  for selfish purposes...

   and so the differnce is love or lust

"[an enemy has sown tares in the feild]"  I dont see this enemy has sown, where might that be found?
Mic 7:8  Thou dost not rejoice over me, O mine enemy, When I have fallen, I have risen, When I sit in darkness Jehovah is a light to me.

Offline thinktank

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Re: a non-literal interpretation of Genesis
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2011, 02:55:55 AM »
porn was from the beginning..in the garden the adversary lusted after Adam and Eve's naked flesh...and lied to deceive to pour out

 all the wickedness in his wicked heart upon the flesh of men[an enemy has sown tares in the feild]

  you see,Our Father would have his spirit dwell in us and give us life.....the evil  spirit inclination is to use and kill  for selfish purposes...

   and so the differnce is love or lust

"[an enemy has sown tares in the feild]"  I dont see this enemy has sown, where might that be found?

In the gospel. Jesus makes a parable and then explains that parable to the disciples.


Offline micah7:9

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Re: a non-literal interpretation of Genesis
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2011, 04:53:04 AM »
porn was from the beginning..in the garden the adversary lusted after Adam and Eve's naked flesh...and lied to deceive to pour out

 all the wickedness in his wicked heart upon the flesh of men[an enemy has sown tares in the feild]

  you see,Our Father would have his spirit dwell in us and give us life.....the evil  spirit inclination is to use and kill  for selfish purposes...

   and so the differnce is love or lust

"[an enemy has sown tares in the feild]"  I dont see this enemy has sown, where might that be found?

In the gospel. Jesus makes a parable and then explains that parable to the disciples.

Yes I know but who did the sowing?
Mic 7:8  Thou dost not rejoice over me, O mine enemy, When I have fallen, I have risen, When I sit in darkness Jehovah is a light to me.

Offline thinktank

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Re: a non-literal interpretation of Genesis
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2011, 10:29:58 PM »
Not going there  :bigGrin: