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Approaching Genesis

Genesis 1:1a: In the beginning God…

As a young person growing up, it never occurred to me that some people might actually believe everything happened exactly as reported in Genesis. Like most young people, then as now, I brought my preconceptions to the book. As a child, I had enjoyed reading colorful books about dinosaurs, what they had evolved from, and what they had evolved into. I already “knew” that the timescale involved was millions of years. So, whatever truth Genesis had to impart must be symbolic, or allegorical.

It requires a complete change of worldview to get the best out of Genesis. Although there are many evidences that we can point to, which cannot be understood without Genesis being true, we will not plumb the depths of this portion of inspired Scripture if we remain at the station of requiring “proof” for what we read. Instead, we should approach Genesis with humility, knowing that it is God’s Word, believing that what is written is truth. Rather than bringing our preconceptions to Genesis, we should let Genesis be our preconception, and interpret everything else from that starting point.

Martin Luther put it thus: “When Moses writes that God created heaven and earth and whatever is in them in six days, then let this period continue to have been six days, and do not venture to devise any comment according to which six days were one day. But if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are.”

Prayer: Lord, give me humility, as I approach Your Word. Help me to submit to what it says, rather than trying to re-interpret it with my opinions. Instead, help me to seek Your opinions at all times. Amen.

Notes: What Luther Says. A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active Christian, compiled by Ewald M. Plass, Concordia, 1959, p. 93 Image: Creative Commons Share Attribution – Share Alike 3.0 Unported, © 1984 Sweet Publishing

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