Fear Of Whales

Tales of a reluctant minister

Genesis 2, Literally

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Sometimes a fun thing I like to do to expose a flaw in a argument is critique the right from the right, and critique the left from the left. Radicals on both side often hide gaps in logic behind appeals to ideals they themselves do not uphold. They critique everything to one side of them with that ideal, but leave themselves vulnerable to a flank. This is an old example of that from a saved file. Critiquing literalness to show that their standard of literal is unreachable.

I had mentioned in a previous article that while I normally am said to be interpreting Genesis "figuratively" that is not exactly correct.

I want to unpack what I mean by that a little more in this article.

You see, while it’s true that there are some parts, or some words in Genesis that I do understand primarily as symbols. I would argue that that is also true of even the most ardent biblical literalist. I really don’t interpret it any more or less "figuratively" I simply interpret it differently.

I’ll give you another example: Genesis 2:7 reads

7 Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

I have a picture of the way that it typically interpreted over there. I like to imagine that there was like a whirlwind that kicked up a lot of dust that then formed the relative shape of a man, and then that shape turned from all brown and bumpy to smooth and colored.

And that’s fine, God could do that ,it would be kind of like Sandman from Spiderman 3. but that isn’t what the text literally says. what the text says is that God made Adam "from the dust" as in "out of the dust" which literally means that God took Silicon dioxide and used the material there to make a human.

Dust is composed primarily of Silicon Dioxide (SiO2), while humans are composed mostly of Water, and Sugars (H2O, and C2H12O6) which is problematic, because there’s no carbon or oxygen in dust.

Well that’s not a problem God is omnipotent. He can get Carbon from ash and hydrogen out of the air. All of that is probably present in the whirlwind anyway! So we make a sacrifice to literalism. We say "Okay so god made Adam with some dust and some other stuff" or maybe you’re a little more liberal and you think there was dust there, but god just made the hydrogen and the oxygen out of nothing (he made it in the first place after all)

Well that’s fine. But can I tell you what I believe.

I believe Adam was literally made from the dust.

See I’m a theistic evolutionist so I interpret the bible literally and I think that the first life on earth was actually literally made out of dust, and that gave way to other life forms and other life forms and eventually to us. God guided evolution to happen to make humans, literally out of dust. Or as Carl Sagan was fond of saying "We are made of star stuff"

So I interpret the "sixth day" part loosely and the other guys interpret the "Out of dust" part loosely. and the end of the day we are all working with the text as best we can, to get to an interpretation that makes sense to us.

P.S.: If You’re super duper nerdy like me. You’ll say "HEY WAIT A SECOND, if you can make life out of dust there must be some means you are invoking to turn one element into another." Well it’s true, and I’ll discuss it in this Super Secret Extra For Experts Nerds Only Article


Written by RyanGaffney

December 30, 2015 at 1:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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