- The Genesis Creation Account: Three Interpretive Models – 1
- The Genesis Creation Account: Three Interpretive Models – 2
- The Genesis Creation Account: Three Interpretive Models – 3
- The Genesis Creation Account: Three Interpretive Models – 4
Under the polemical interpretative model, Genesis 1-3 can be read as a refutation of competing creation accounts. Since this function takes precedence over others, the narrative is not required to be historically, scientifically, or even chronologically accurate by modern standards.1
Instead it is a story, corresponding to the literary form of the period. Alexander & Baker (2003, pp.156-166) list common features of ANE creation accounts (e.g. chaotic beginning, separation of waters, breath of life, imago dei, rest, cosmos as temple) and show how Genesis infuses them with greater significance.
Pagan mythology was largely aimless, with creation a mere side-effect of other activities. Pagan gods were capricious and arbitrary, with little regard for anyone but themselves. By contrast, the Hebrew God brings true nobility to His role as divine monarch.
The Genesis narrative emphasises His unique characteristics in superlative terms: He moves through the cosmos unchallenged (Genesis 1:2); He speaks and creation occurs ex nihilo (Genesis 1:3); He communes peaceably with His heavenly court (Genesis 1:262); He provides for the needs of all living things without demanding a price in return (Genesis 1:30 cf. 2:8-9, 15-18); He places humanity at the pinnacle of creation (Genesis 1:26, 28 cf. 2:19-20).
In stark opposition to pagan deities, Yahweh creates all things through an effortless yet meaningful process, and remains intimately involved with His creation.3
- Belief in a literal 24-hour, 7-day creation period is commonly known as ‘Young Earth Creationism’ (Young & Strode 2009, pp.54-55). [↩]
- The invitation ‘Let us create man…’ is addressed to God’s angels (Waltke & Yu 2007, p.213); see footnotes in the NET Bible at Genesis 1:26 cf. 3:22. [↩]
- ‘Genesis is implicitly rejecting other views of the gods and their relationship with the world. Here we have no story of how gods fought, married and bore children; there is but one God, beyond time and sex, who was there in the beginning. He created all things, even the sun, moon and stars, which other peoples often held to be gods in their own right. He required no magic to do this; his word was sufficient by itself.’ Carson, D. A. 1994. New Bible commentary : 21st century edition (4th ed.) (Ge 1:1–2:3). Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA. [↩]