Genesis in a "Figurative Sense"?

From: Gary Collins (
Date: Thu May 15 2003 - 03:13:00 EDT

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    On Wed, 14 May 2003 05:20:01 -0400, asa-digest wrote:

    >Date: Tue, 13 May 2003 08:18:05 -0400
    >From: "Dick Fischer" <>
    >Subject: Genesis in a "Figurative Sense"?
    >Gary Collins wrote:
    >> Oh, dear, it seems like I should be burned at the stake.
    >> Perhaps the author should read something like 'In the Beginning'
    >> by Henri Blocher. He shows that purely from scriptural considerations
    >> (before bringing in science) there is ample evidence to suggest that
    >> that much or all in the early chapters of Genesis might best be
    >> understood in a figurative sense.
    >Skip the burning, try a little education. What passages of the early
    >chapters of Genesis do you find so incomprehensible that they need
    >to be "understood in a figurative sense"?

    Hi Dick,

    My education is ongoing. I wouldn't, I don't think, use the word
    'incomprehensible' about any of the passages. Nor, in a sense,
    do any passages 'need' to be understood in a figurative sense.
    Different people have different preferences when it comes to
    interpretation, some are better than others, but at the end of the
    day, my own belief is that when we get to glory and find out the
    full details (at least, I hope we get to do so) then we will all be in
    for a surprise to some extent or another.

    But to answer your question more specifically:
    My own choice would be to interpret as figurative - or maybe
    as I wrote in another post, 'symbolic' may be a better choice of
    word here - for example, the creation of Adam from the dust of
    the ground; the creation of Eve from the man's side; also I
    would see elements such as the serpent and the trees as
    symbols (though I consider that the Fall of man was an all-too-
    real event). The same symbols appear in Revelation, where
    they are clearly symbolic. There may be other things, but these
    spring to mind most readily. Oh, and the days of creation.

    I know that any or all of these *could* be interpreted literally,
    but my personal preference is for symbolism here. I've read
    some of your work, particularly those documents to which you
    kindly referred me to a few weeks ago, and I admire it, I think
    it's very interesting and deserving of serious consideration.
    I haven't had time to properly assimilate all of it yet. At the
    moment, good though it is, it hasn't proved so persuasive
    as to compel me to change my views on the above issues.


    "By tying up the weak case for a young earth in the same package as the strong case for creation, recent-creationists are almost asking to be defeated."
    -- Alan Hayward, "Creation and Evolution: The Facts and Fallacies," p.81

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