Interpreting Genesis


Seventh Day of Creation from the 1493 Nuremberg Chronicles In the 2005 (second) edition of Did God Create In 6 Days? (Tolle Lege Press, Presbyterian Press, and The Covenant Foundation), Joseph A. Pipa asserts the following about the correct interpretation of Genesis 1:

…although Scripture speaks idiomatically about the sun moving or standing still, we know upon exegetical reflection that the biblical writers did not use those idioms in order to explain the relation of the earth to the sun. They spoke idiomatically even as we do today….In this paper, I have sought to establish that [in contrast] Genesis 1 intends to communicate sequential order; in fact, that God intends to teach about how he created and in what order. As such Genesis 1 must govern our scientific conclusions. Further, Scripture, in the Pentateuch, the Poetical books, the Prophets, and the New Testament, uniformly treats the events of the creation account as discrete, factual events (Deut. 4:32; Ps. 33:6; Isa. 42:5; 45:7, 12; John 1:3; Acts 17:24, 26; 1 Cor. 11:9; 2 Cor. 4:6; Heb. 1:2[–]3; 11:3; 2 Pet. 3:5). (188–9)

Although not everyone agrees that Scripture’s references to the sun moving and standing still may be dismissed so easily (some Bible believers do advocate geocentricity), Pipa does show that fair-minded exegetical analysis rules out any such dismissal of the plain sense of Genesis 1.


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