”The problem that you have with Genesis 1 appears to be one of context and interpretation.”
You say this, but nowhere in the subsequent argument do you ever quote expanded versions of any of the verses I cited, showing how the surrounding context changes their meaning versus how I presented them. It seems instead like when you say it’s out of context, or misinterpreted, what you mean is that I have not assumed in my analysis that it must ultimately be true no matter what, as you have.
”The book is not a scientific description of how God made the world.”
It very clearly tries to be. Any objective person without an emotional investment in vindicating scripture would interpret it as a matter-of-fact, purportedly historical account of how the Earth and living things on it came into existence.
”It is a theological description, meant to convey the fact that God made everything in a way that would make sense to an Israelite. The ordering is irrelevant because that’s not what it describes.”
First, “Theological” is not a blank check which makes inaccuracies disappear. Second, I already addressed your argument that it needed to make sense to an israelite: First of all, is not Yahweh’s message timeless, for all people and all places? Most Christians would say so.
Secondly, if Yahweh permits information about nature to be included in scripture which is factually inaccurate, it will cause future readers to dismiss Christianity as untrue. They cannot, then, reasonably be penalized with damnation for doing so.
Lastly, simply declaring that the order is “irrelevant” does not make it so; what you really mean is that it’s a difficult problem for your narrative, so you wish to ignore it.
”Your scientific mind wants to read it as a literal 6 day creation of physical objects, but that’s not what it’s about. The ancient Israelite would have seen that God ordered the known world.”
That could’ve been accomplished with a single verse saying that Yahweh ordered the world in a particular, structured way. That is not what we see in Genesis. It is long, detailed, specific about precisely how we’re meant to believe that Yahweh ordered things, and it has turned out to be factually wrong.
If the message was simply the Yahweh ordered the world, what is gained by putting the wrong order into scripture, which would be lost if it instead described the order correctly? Isn’t the more parsimonious, likely explanation simply that Christianity is false? Why are you so doggedly opposed to considering that possibility?
”If you asked them, “but did God create all the matter from nothing, and did he create the sun first?”, they probably would have answered with, “who cares, what a dumb question.”
I think you’re projecting your strategic incuriosity onto them. Genesis is very detailed and specific. So it’s plain to see it was of considerable importance to the authors exactly how Yahweh ordered things, not simply that he did so.
”Proverbs only establishes that Wisdom personified, later cast as Jesus, was there at the beginning. Drawing a circle on the face of the deep only tells the Israelites, “I made it”, it is not telling them science.”
No, it is very plainly describing the creation of Earth as a flat disc, covered by the solid dome of the sky referred to elsewhere in scripture as the raquiya, or firmament as the article points out.
It is possible to dissect each description of single elements of ancient Hebrew cosmology in isolation from the rest and make it mean something else; but when you look at them all together, it paints a very clear picture of what those Hebrews believed about cosmology.
”You seem to think that the Bible is divine revelation giving the Israelites science, as though God took control of the author’s hand and told them exactly what to write.”
No, I don’t. But it is a matter of doctrine that particular scriptural claims were divinely revealed, even if the whole of scripture was not dictated word for word, and the style of writing in Genesis bears out the view that the authors believed it to be factual information revealed to them by the creator of the world.
”It is not, it is a book written and edited by humans, inspired by God, to present accurate theology to them in a way that they would understand. As far as creation goes, the only thing that mattered to an Israelite was that God did it.”
That does not preclude the authors from ***attempting*** to accurately describe cosmology and other aspects of nature under the pretense that this information was divinely revealed, and indeed this is what they did. It’s “unimportant” to you only because it is not faith promoting.
As an aside, I feel like we could go around in circles on this issue forever unless we get to the heart of the matter. Ask yourself this question: Supposing that there was a group traveling about your area today led by a charismatic speaker who claims the world is ending soon. He promises to save you, but only if you sell your belongings, devote your life to his teachings, leave your home and job to follow him, and cut off family members who disapprove of this. He also assigns new names to some followers and says if they do not love him more than their own families, they’re unworthy of him. What sort of group is this? Do we have a modern word for groups of this type?