GEN 1-11: Beyond the concordist debate

From: Shuan Rose (
Date: Thu May 02 2002 - 18:26:03 EDT

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    Terry wrote:
    Precedence: bulk

    f course, a story that didn't really happen can be true. None of us

    pressing toward "concordism" deny that--parables, fables, myths, etc.

    are all examples that we recognize.

    But the question is -- are the early chapters of Genesis in that

    category or are they true in a more historical sense?

    I will be the first to admit that there are certain mythic elements

    in these accounts; but, so what? This is not to say that the extent

    of their message IS that mythic element; or that the historical

    element isn't important or crucial to their message.

    You guys make us "fundies" (there's hardly a difference, you know,

    between a "fundie" and a "concordist") sound like idiots. It's not an

    either or issue. Just because there are literary dimensions,

    theological purposes, mythic elements, etc. doesn't mean that the

    historical isn't there or isn't important. Christianity is a deeply

    historical faith.


    You and the other concordists are certainly right.Christianity is a
    historical faith and we should not forget that It builds on Israel's faith
    which is also deeply historical.

    I think the problem is that Genesis 1-11 looks like history and is in fact
    joined onto a historical account, so we want to consider it history. It was
    the genius of the the original writer( The Yahwist, according to the
    scholars) to take an account of the saving acts of YAHWEH in Israel's
    history, that originally started with the call of Abraham, and to extend it
    into prehistory . He did so by taking several seperate creation stories,
    arranging them into a chronological sequence, and inserting genealogies to
    cover the gaps.He did so in order to make the vitally important theological
    point that the first saving act of YAHWEH was the creation of the universe
    and that the Lord of Israel was also the Lord of the universe.

    Now in creating his literary and theological scheme, the Yahwist mined the
    mythological traditions of his day and rewrote them to suit his conception
    of YAHWEH. The flood story, for example is based on older Babylonian (and
    possibly Canaanite) originals. the story of Adam & eve really does not fit
    together seamlessly with Cain and Abel( hence the perennial question, Where
    did Cain's wife come from?). The tables of generations work to link together
    what were separate stories. Following the Yahwist, the Priestly writer adds
    Genesis 1 and the Priestly version of the flood story to the Yahwist's

    Now, this is what OT scholars say is happening in Gen 1-11. See, for
    example, Gerhard Von Rad, The Problem of the Hexatuech, and the extensive
    litetrature generated by that book. Online, try

    Concordists and fundies tend to simply ignore the scholars view of Gen
    1-11."Lets not let expert analysis get in the way of our historical
    reconstructions" is the motto of both groups. I think this a short sighted
    view that ends up in endless (and IMHO) pointless discussions on trying to
    extract a historical kernel out of Genesis 1-11. I have yet to see Glenn,
    Dick, or anyone else get to the meat of Gen 1-11, which for me , is What
    does it mean for ME and my community that my God is the maker of heaven and
    earth? As scientists, you should be able to contribute devotional and
    theological insights that I, a non scientist, do not have. I would like the
    list to table (at least, for a little while) the whole concordist debate and
    hear some contributions on this question.

    Shuan Rose, Attorney at Law
    2632 N Charles Street, Baltimore MD 21218

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