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Seeing the Flood Story Through an Ancient Israelite Lens

Pete Shaw highlights the story of Noah to explore how the story would have been understood in ancient times and from there he goes on to explore how we might consider it today.

 

The Second Creation Story and "Atrahasis"

Atrahasis is important to biblical scholars because of it similarity to Genesis 2-9. Both stories share a similar storyline: creation, population growth and rebellion, flood. They also share some important details within that storyline.

 

Series: Genesis Through Ancient Eyes (5 entries)

In this talk, originally delivered at the BioLogos President's Circle meeting in October 2012, Dr. John Walton discusses the origin stories of Genesis 1-3, and why their focus on function and archetypes mean there is no Biblical narrative of material origins.

 

Series: Biblical and Scientific Shortcomings of Flood Geology (6 entries)

Gregg Davidson and Ken Wolgemuth seek to remove the stumbling block of the Genesis flood in this four part series. Though many believe in an ancient world-wide flood, the evidence given does not hold up to geological scrutiny, but points rather to something regional instead. It is their hope that Christians will not walk away from faith in Christ simply because a global flood is not supported by science. Looking at natural phenomena like the Grand Canyon, salt beds, and fossil deposits, they reveal reasons for these deposits and structures while showing that their origin did not stem from a violent flood that covered the planet.

 

Series: Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography in the Bible (8 entries)

In this six part series, Brian Godawa takes a closer look at cosmography and its relationship to the Bible. After defining cosmography as a theory that describes features of the heavens and the earth, he relates how his own views about the universe have shifted. He then continues to talk about the Mesopotamian cosmography that is so consistently reflected in Scripture. This view of the universe includes aspects such as the firmament, the pillars, the underworld, the heavens above, the watery abyss. He then explains how one understands these concepts in terms of modern scientific thought.

 

On the Creation Account

To understand and apply Genesis 1 correctly, we have to consider issues of genre and intention. Too often these chapters are read as if they present a purely straightforward historical and even scientific account of cosmic and human origins.

 

On Myth and Meaning

In this video, John Walton talks about ancient myth and how we might better understand it if we think about its intended functionality—that is, myths were a way to explain a culture’s origin and universal significance though they lacked the advances of scientific discovery.

 

N.T. Wright on Understanding Ancient Texts

In this video Conversation, N.T. Wright emphasizes the importance of understanding the context of biblical texts in order to know whether to read them as literal or metaphorical narratives.

 

Biblical Creation in its Ancient Near Eastern Context: An Introduction

It has been my experience that many Christians have not given sufficient thought to how the Old Testament was composed––that is, to the "human" side of the inspiration of Scripture.

 

Series: The Flood: Not Global, Barely Local, Mostly Theological (4 entries)

The three part series, written by Paul Seely, explores the scientific validity of the Flood in Genesis. He offers the approximate date of the flood according to Scripture, and then looks at various lines of evidence that contradict the idea of a global flood at that time. In light of other Mesopotamian flood stories, scholars conclude that the flood was local at best. In the end, he suggests that this story primarily reveals theological truths from a limited scientific understanding of natural events.

 

Series: Evolution Basics (50 entries)

Written by BioLogos Fellow of Biology Dennis Venema, this series of posts is intended as a basic introduction to the science of evolution for non-specialists.

 

Series: From the Dust (13 entries)

In this series, Ryan Pettey offers several clips from his powerful documentary "From the Dust". This feature-length film is divided up into various sections, each of which wrestles with the difficult problems that arise when reconciling Scripture with the theory of evolution. A light of hope dawns on the science-faith conversation, however, as scientists and theologians engage in honest dialogue about tough issues such as the interpretation of Genesis, the nature of the Fall, and the idea of random design. Their profound insights are sure to enlighten all minds, raise deeper questions, and provoke new thought.

 

Revealing God's Nature

In today's video, Brian McLaren discusses the value of considering Scripture in light of the cultures that surrounded them. The Biblical writers were aware of the myths of the power nations that surrounded them, but flipped their stories on their heads to reveal truth about God.

 

Science, Scripture, and the Creation Narrative

In these two brief video Conversations, John Walton discusses the problem of trying to integrate ancient scripture with our modern worldview.

 

Adam is Israel

It helps us look at the Adam story from an angle that might be new to some readers here: Adam is the beginning of Israel, not humanity.

 

On Genesis 2 and 3

In this video Conversation, N.T. Wright explores how the ancient Jewish audience read Genesis before and up to the time that Jesus arrived. He asserts that readers of Genesis today who focus simply on the number of days of creation and whether there is evidence in the text pointing to an old or new earth—are in effect not reading the complete text.

 

Understanding Genesis

John Walton offers some important reminders in this video with regard to how we should approach a reading of the book of Genesis. While it is a text that is written for us—in the sense that it was written for all people in all times and places—it was not written to us.

 

The Firmament of Genesis 1 is Solid but That’s Not the Point

Genesis 1 and 2 tell the story of creation, and it says things that are at odds with what modern people know to be true of the world and universe around us. One of those issue concerns the second day of creation (Genesis 1:6-8), where God made the "expanse" or the "firmament".

 

Understanding Earth

When we read Genesis 1.1: "in the beginning God created the heavens and earth" we picture the origin of the atmosphere, space, solar systems, and galaxies. But in Genesis 1 "earth" does not mean the planet Earth.

 

Reconciling Science With Scripture

In the ancient world people were inclined to be much more interested in issues like order, functions, roles and general operations than in the material stuff of the physical world. Because of this, even their thinking about creation is more focused on the functional rather than the material.

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