The Book of
GENESISis (pick as many as apply) . . .
A) a glorious mess of unpronounceable names and incomprehensible actions.
B) a direct contradiction of what "modern science" teaches about evolution and geology.
C) a late compilation of materials from different authors with very different viewpoints and beliefs about God.
D) a Babylonian creation myth incompletely edited to make it acceptable to Jewish monotheism.
E) irrelevant to the Christian faith.
The Book of
GENESISactually is . . .
the opening part of a single work in 5 volumes known as
(= "Five Books" of Moses)
(or The Law).
The subject of the Pentateuch is God's choice of the People of Israel and their covenant with God. Genesis functions as the prologue to the main body of the work.
The story of Genesis consists of two parts:
1. PRIMEVAL HISTORY
. . . origin of the world, of man, and explanation of the human situation (Gen. 1-11)
2. HISTORY OF THE PATRIARCHS
Joseph and his brothers
The material in Genesis has two origins:
1. TRADITIONAL MATERIAL FROM MESOPOTAMIA
(11 "Tablets" -- Gen. 1:1-37:2)
2. THE JOSEPH EPIC FROM EGYPTIAN SOURCES
(. . . how Israel came to be in Egypt in the first place -- Gen. 37:3-50:26)
As far as the story goes, most of the controversy over Genesis comes from the Primeval History section (Chapters 1-11).
In what sense is this stuff to be taken as true?
Can it be authoritative if it is not true?
What does it mean to say that Scripture is inspired by God?
All truth is God's truth.
A proper understanding of inspiration includes understanding what the human writer intended.
The remainder of Genesis, The History of the Patriarchs (cap. 12-50) is much easier.
This is ordinary human society (a la Middle Bronze Age).
The Patriarchs are history's most extensively chronicled dysfunctional family.
More to come . . .