- 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
The theological interpretative model complements the polemical and functions in a similar way, for ‘Even in the history books, the main emphasis is on theological explanation rather than historical analysis.’1 Read in this way, almost every verse of the Genesis narrative is pregnant with meaning.
God is alone (monotheism, Genesis 1:2 cf. Exodus 20:32); He is sole creator (omnipotence, Genesis 1:3 cf. II Kings 19:15); He creates with purpose (teleo-eschatological framework, Genesis 1:26 cf. Numbers 14:21 & Matthew 5:14-16); He sustains all life (literal & spiritual food, Genesis 1:29 cf. Exodus 16:4 & John 6:27); He forms legal contracts, passes judgement and covers sin (covenant relationship, sin, atonement, Genesis 2:15-17 & 3:14-19, 21 cf. Genesis 17:1-8, Revelation 13:8).3
Thus we have the distinctive spiritual elements of ontology, teleology, hamartiology, soteriology and eschatology which comprise the foundation of Judeo-Christian doctrine. Interpreted theologically, the Genesis creation reveals a microcosm of the complete Christian message: the only true, omnipotent God created us to reflect His glory, providing all our needs.4 When we turn from Him in sin, He offers to redeem us through an eternal covenant made possible by the sacrifice of His Son, so that our original relationship might be restored.
Theology is therefore an inherent feature of the Genesis creation account,5 as illustrated in specific statements about the nature and identity of God, His mode of creation, His interaction with creation, and His dealings with humanity. Both here and elsewhere in Genesis, statements of this type have a creedal function, defining key aspects of the Hebrew faith.
- Drane, J. W. 2000. Introducing the Old Testament (Completely rev. and updated.) (257). Lion Publishing plc: Oxford. [↩]
- Notice that even the heavenly bodies are referred to as objects rather than spiritual beings. [↩]
- The Genesis creation account probably began as an oral tradition, with formal recitation involving some explication of the theological themes. The written version does not do this, possibly reflecting a certain amount of assumed knowledge. [↩]
- ‘According to the Genesis account, there is one God, the sovereign Creator, to whom all the universe owes its being and whom it is expected to obey. Within that created universe, men and women have a place of honour, having been made in the divine image. We reflect God’s nature and represent him on earth.’ 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. [↩]
- ‘The book of Genesis introduces primary theological themes that form the core of both the Old and New Testaments. The opening words of the book establish creation, of which mankind is the highest accomplishment, as the unique prerogative of God, a purposeful process that by its very nature is affirmed as good (1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). Sin is introduced as willful disobedience (ch. 3), permeating the human condition (4:1–16; 11:1–9) and leading to divine judgment (3:14–24; 6:5–8:22).’ Myers, A. C. 1987. The Eerdmans Bible dictionary (409). Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, Mich. [↩]