Monday, July 20, 2009

Genesis 1-27: Do These Stories Matter?

Looking back on the first twenty seven chapters of Genesis, it occurs to me that these stories don't add much to our understanding of God and His agenda as they might actually exist. The God who appears to the patriarchs is very different to the God we imagine nowadays or even the God that shows up later in the Bible. The most we can glean from these stories is some insight into how one ancient nomadic tribe thought about God and how they sought to situate themselves in the cosmic narrative.

I'm not sure that I believe in the historical truth of even the most mundane of these stories, but I would concede that the progenitors of the Israelites included prosperous and reasonably successful warlords who wandered in and around Canaan and Egypt. Whether they had the particular adventures set down in these stories just doesn't matter. Asking people to believe them seems to me to be setting up a gratuitous stumbling block.

No comments: