Honoring the Text in Genesis 1

What do you do with Genesis 1?

Genesis 1 seems to reveals a lot more about us than it does about God's creation of the cosmos.

On the one hand, the Hebrew word for "day" that is used throughout the chapter - "yom" - calls to mind a 24 hour period. The author of Genesis pushes us even further toward this interpretation by talking about "the evening and the morning." So, maybe God created the cosmos in 6 days.

But the entire chapter is written in poetic form with poetic rhythms and a mythic tone. And the "yom" days that drive the passage are quite unusual in the Hebrew. One would expect the author to use "hayyom harison" to say "the first day," but instead we read "yom ehad," which means "Day One." This lack of a "heh" definite article signals loudly "THIS IS POETRY." So, maybe this chapter isn't meant to be read literally.

People who want to honor the text of Genesis 1 can slide to either side. The question isn't "Who honors the text?" Instead, we find ourselves discovering "What are you hoping to find in this text?"

So, what do you do with Genesis 1?

HT my mom (HT means "hat tip" or "heard through" in twitterspeak)

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