9.3 To Be Exposed to the Various Interpretations of the Genesis Account

A Christian must study the various interpretations of the Genesis account, as well as be current on new data on the subject and keep an open mind as to the validity of each idea. One charge leveled by the scientific community against the church is its apparent obscurant attitude toward scientific truth. This was prompted by some medieval church leaders who adhered dogmatically to a certain interpretation of the Bible. Galileo was denounced as a heretic for believing the Copernican theory that proposed the sun was the center of the solar system because leading theologians of the day believed the Bible taught otherwise. Psalm 19 and the account of Joshua's long day (Josh. 10:12-15) were quoted as sure scriptural proof that the earth was the center of the universe (1). One wonders if some people who adhere now to a given interpretation of Genesis would not have agreed with those theologians had they lived then, and they, too, would have had to suffer the embarrassment of revising their hermeneutics in light of scientific fact. [298]

Galileo rightly stated (1), "Scripture deals with natural matters in such a cursory and allusive way that it looks as though it wanted to remind us that its business is not about them but about the soul and that, as concerns nature, it is willing to adjust its language to the simple minds of the people."

It is apparent that failure to consider various interpretations of the Bible and the unwillingness to forsake a traditional interpretation to adopt an alternative view that fits well-established facts of nature can do great harm to the cause of Christ.

Reference 9.3

1. Snow, R. J. In: Genesis one and the origin of the universe. Newman, R. C.; Eckelmann, H. J.; Jr. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity; 1977: 125.