Ancient Hebrews and Creation

I don’t know how many of you are interested in this sort of thing, but since I spent some time on it this morning and found some interesting stuff, I thought I’d share. Everyone is aware of the conflicts in our country over evolution vs creationism vs ID. Religious folks who reject evolution usually point to the bible as back-up for their POV. Such people will surely agree that the bible is unchanging. However, they forget/do not know/ignore the fact that the words they read are first translations, second often mean something very different to the modern reader than they did to the people to whom the text was originally given. If the bible truly doesn’t change, it can not have been meant to convey one meaning to those to whom it was originally given and something entirely different to us today. We must not impose our own views, cultural prejudices and assumptions onto scriptures. Instead, we must strive to understand the original intent of the text and the way it was understood to the people it was originally speaking to. Not that one cannot be a Christian if one doesn’t know all the background details, but one is likely to be a Christian with a whole bunch of erroneous ideas.
What this has to do with the evolution debate is that when one looks at the original text of Genesis (ie in the original language) and what it meant to the people to whom it was originally given, we find that much of the thinking which underpins today’s objections to evolution would not have made any sense at all to the ancient Hebrews. Their understanding of their text hardly allowed, much less required what we in our modern thought process view as a literal understanding of the creation story.
Like I said, I don’t know if any of you are interested in such things, but here are a couple of articles on the subject which I found interesting (warning rather scholarly, language examination and dense stuff, but worth fishing through, I think):

The Bible Idea of Time: How Archaic Hebrew Thought Is Constructed Differently than Our Thought Today
Genesis, Cosmology, and Ancient Semitic Thought – This link is no longer good.  It was an article from a site called Genesis Revealed.  If anyone can find it and pass it on, I would appreciate it. 

There ya go. If you’re a huge dork like me who reads scholarly papers in your spare time, you’re in hog-heaven. If not, please continue on with your regularly scheduled non-dorky day!

6 thoughts on “Ancient Hebrews and Creation

  1. In light of your argument, ie., that the Creation account was written in a certain manner for a certain audience with a certain understanding, etc., how then are we to approach Christ’s resurrection? Was it, too a case of writing for a certain audience in a manner which they could understand and which we should not necessarily take at face value? And, in that vein, what does science have to say about resurrection from the dead?

  2. After swallowing the camel of the resurrection, which science also denies, she strains at the gant of a 6-day creation. Amazing.

    I read the material in the links provided. It contains the old canard that Adam named all of the animals that exist today. It doesn’t take into account the Biblical world-wide flood. It doesn’t take into account that Adam only named the original kinds [dogs – not chihuahua, German shepherd, doxie, ad nauseam] and that, in fact, he only named a small portion of them [land animals and birds, but not creeping things or sea creatures]. When we take the Biblical details into account, the presumption that this took a loooooooooooooong time is revealed as just another a priori bias.

    –Sirius Knott

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