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Danger of Preaching on Genesis with Joel Hunter

Danger of Preaching on Genesis
Conversation with: Joel Hunter

In this video Conversation, Joel Hunter acknowledges the risk that pastors take when preaching on Genesis—and in particular, when they approach it with an attitude of humility, allowing the possibility that the text was not meant to be understood in literal terms.

To discuss this video, see our post "The Danger of Preaching on Genesis" at Science & the Sacred.

Video Transcription

It is a very big risk for pastors in conservative Evangelical churches to venture forth and say, "Look, let's be humble about this." But the other side of this is, we have probably, I would say, the vast majority of our people sitting in those pews who are very uncomfortable with, "Look, it was six 24-hour days, and if you think anything else, then you don't believe in scripture."

These are science teachers. These are scientists. These are bright businessmen and businesswomen and people who have been thinking, and they just say, "Wait a minute. God is God. God could choose any way he wants to create the world." And it doesn't make it any less marvelous. As a matter of fact, it makes it more marvelous because he would be so intricate in his creation.

When people say, "Look, if the scripture's not plain to the uneducated mind, if the scripture can't be understood by what it says to somebody like me, then is the resurrection really just a story? Is it just a metaphor for rising up out of constraints and overcoming the death that we face in everyday life"? And so on and so forth, and, "Was there really a resurrection?"

That's what's at risk for many people, and I don't, again, want to dismiss or denigrate those who hold a literalist view because they honestly believe that if they vary off that, then they themselves will have to question the truth of scripture. You don't ever want to bully or somehow feel the hubris to call someone a name because they won't believe like you believe, and that goes for someone who is a literalist as well as somebody who is a liberal.

Having said that, there are those with a lot more capacity intellectually than they're using, and they need to be given permission to use that intellectual capacity to understand the fullness of God and the great mystery of God.