Is the story of Genesis revealed truth or a form of eisegis?


#1

Since God can do anything and could have simply made Jesus and Mary from.the start instead of Adam and Eve, we could have bypassed this world of sin, imperfection, and suffering. But obviously, it did not happen that way.

We can only backtrack from an imperfect state in the world and try to imagine how it would have been in its perfected state and it seems like we try to make the puzzle fit with what we have been dealt.

So is Genesis revealed to us by God to show us the origins of the world or is Genesis a form of eisegis and mans attempt to figure out how the world came to be?


#2

I am not sure I completely understand your question. Is your question related to the inspiration of Genesis (whether it truly is revelation from God) or are you asking how we should understand God’s revelation in Genesis?

Also, *eisegesis *is the act of a person reading his or her (biased) interpretation *into *a text. In order for this to occur, it requires the existence of a text (such as Genesis). Not sure how this fits into your question.


#3

The Greatest Form of Love is choice. If we had not chosen to sin, Christ’s Crucifixion would not have happened. What point would it serve? Genesis is God’s way of showing us our origins and the root of our sin. It also shows God’s plan of redemption. Hebrew names mean things. (Adam to Noah means ->) The Blessed God shall come down teaching, his death shall bring the despairing comfort and rest.


#4

Valhk,

This is an interesting claim, but I would be very careful to approach the Bible this way. I see some translation complications here. I’m not sure if you paraphrased this from another source or not, but your sentence is missing several names.

Adam = Man, human being
Seth = Appointed
E’nosh = Mortal man
Ke’nan = Nesting, Dwelling, Possession
Ma-hal’alel = Praise of God
Jared = Descent
E’noch = Initiated, Dedicated, Trained
Methu’selah = Man of spear/dart
Lamech = (uncertain, one suggestion is “Powerful”)
Noah = Comfort

In other words, the names do not provide a clear message (not to mention that this approach would require arbitrarily inserting articles and prepositions just to make these words make sense in English, not to mention the grammatical complications of Hebrew).


#5

Oo, forgive me, I forget to put in the beginning.


#6

According to your own Catechism, “God inspired the human authors of the sacred books”, “The inspired books teach the truth”, but “Still, the Christian faith is not a “religion of the book.””

So, that makes Genesis true, and not merely a human fable, but not necessarily simple, literal history: Genesis represents humanity as the pinnacle of God’s creation, as the centre of God’s creation, as the agents of harm to God’s creation, as beings in need of guidance, etc.


#7

Christ was begotten not made…


#8

Many people get caught up in worrying about how the world came to be and what part the story in Genesis plays with respect to creation. IMHO, how is beside the point. Genesis is the literal why of creation. And why is so much cooler than how.


#9

In this instance, the Why and How are related. If the How opposes what the Church teaches as being an essential belief (i.e. science showing that multiple humans were evolved at the same time, as opposed to starting off with just two humans), then the Why changes too.


#10

That’s why I called it a form of eisegis in a way. We have to make sense of a chaotic world and so, is it possible that man simply came up with a metaphoric story like that of Adam & Eve’s original sin as a scapegoat and explanation for why the world is so crazy and full of suffering?


#11

:stuck_out_tongue:

I suppose, because the reality of the universe being created by God in some way whether it is creation/intelligent design/evolution/something we haven’t figured out yet is the only reasonable answer to me, I don’t even anticipate science not agreeing with the Church. That would just be agenda, which most “science” seems to be focused on anyhow, instead of reality. (Global warming, start of life, food production, etc…)


#12

Okay, I think I understand your question now. Strictly speaking, eisegesis is not the correct term for what you are asking. Instead, you are questioning whether or not Genesis is a manmade etiology.

So the answer would be: “No, Genesis is not a simple manmade metaphor that explains why the world is so crazy and full of suffering.” Now if you want to understand how or why that is the case, it would be well worth your time researching the Church’s teaching on biblical inspiration and biblical interpretation. I know a quick keyword search on this website would provide several invaluable starting points.

If you do look into this question, you will find the Church’s teaching on why we believe the Bible is the word of God, the relationship between the divine and human author of a text, how to interpret a text according to its genre and the senses of scripture, and why rich symbolism and divinely inspired metaphors (not simply manmade metaphors) in the Bible do not contradict science.


#13

The point I am hung up on is that the world didn’t have to be full of suffering and in its broken state that its been in. God could have made Jesus and Mary rather than Adam and Eve, and the world would have never been broken. That didn’t happen and man can’t make it happen either. But, what man can do though, is come up with a metaphoric rationalization to explain our current state. Basically, having a view first and then building up the facts to support that biased view (which is what eisegis basically is) as opposed to using the facts to determine a plausible view.


#14

I agree that eisegesis (note the spelling) is a poor approach to biblical studies and interpretation, but it almost sounds like your last post parallels an eisegetical approach itself. It seems like you are holding a view (“*I *would have created the world *like this *rather than like Genesis”) and then rejecting, or at least strongly questioning, things that do not match your view. Thus, a parallel with an eisegetical approach.

I understand your issue with why God allowed sin and suffering, but I do not see how you are able to make the leap from that question to the conclusion (or suggestion) that Genesis is a manmade etiology. Why eliminate the possibility that Genesis simply recounts, in a poetic and symbolic way, the story of humans and their relationship with God?

It might be better to simply focus on one question at a time, starting with, “Why did God create humanity with the ability to sin?” Or even, “Why did God wait so long to send Jesus into the world to redeem humanity?” These are questions that the greatest minds have reflected on and answered.

Or if you are able to make a rational case for the inspiration of the Bible (as I mentioned in my last post), then you can let scripture help you with these questions. After all, if scripture is indeed revelation from God, then it should help address these questions.


#15

From a Catholic Answers tract:

"Real History

"The argument is that all of this is real history, it is simply ordered topically rather than chronologically, and the ancient audience of Genesis, it is argued, would have understood it as such.

"Even if Genesis 1 records God’s work in a topical fashion, it still records God’s work—things God really did.

"The Catechism explains that “Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine ‘work,’ concluded by the ‘rest’ of the seventh day” (CCC 337), but “nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the Creator. The world began when God’s word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of nature, and all human history is rooted in this primordial event, the very genesis by which the world was constituted and time begun” (CCC 338).

"It is impossible to dismiss the events of Genesis 1 as a mere legend. They are accounts of real history, even if they are told in a style of historical writing that Westerners do not typically use.

"Adam and Eve: Real People

"It is equally impermissible to dismiss the story of Adam and Eve and the fall (Gen. 2–3) as a fiction. A question often raised in this context is whether the human race descended from an original pair of two human beings (a teaching known as monogenism) or a pool of early human couples (a teaching known as polygenism).

"In this regard, Pope Pius XII stated: “When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parents of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now, it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the teaching authority of the Church proposed with regard to original sin which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam in which through generation is passed onto all and is in everyone as his own” (Humani Generis 37).

“The story of the creation and fall of man is a true one, even if not written entirely according to modern literary techniques. The Catechism states, “The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents” (CCC 390).”

Hope this helps,
Ed


#16

And God could’ve prevented Adam from sinning to begin with, but He didn’t; God apparently valued man’s freedom too much for that. The doctrine of Original Sin, based first of all on the accounts of the Fall of man in Genesis, seeks to explain the existence of evil in the world. The Church teaches that, while some aspects of the story are symbolic or figurative, a literal first set of parents literally committed the first sin, and a separation or rift occurred between humanity and God as a result, evidenced by the fact that we’re now born without immediate knowledge of God, and by the proliferation of moral evil-sin- in our world.


#17

Since God made Jesus and Mary sinless and intended for them to be sinless from the beginning, are you saying that both Jesus and Mary lacked free will?


#18

The nature of sin and evil precludes the source of such to be God but in my view He did ‘allow’ these things because He had perfect foreknowledge. The question remains: why does God allow evil and sin and suffering when He very easily could have prevented them. My answer is that in order for a love relationship to be genuine it must be based on the free will of both parties. God loved us and wants to be in relationship to us but was willing to take the risk that some may fail to love and so evil comes about even though He knew that would happen. That is how important we are to God that He would be willing to tolerate our mess in order to be in love with us. God took a risk with Abraham and Abraham obeyed thus providing the seed from which Christ would come. Mary could have said no to God’s plan for her but her yes had awesome results. Jesus was perfectly obedient to the Father’s will and so the remedy for evil happened thankfully. Genesis is an accurate record of what happened when Adam and Eve failed to respond with free will love to God thus plunging the rest of humanity into inherited sin. The area of theology that addresses these questions is known as ‘theodicy’ from a book of that same title by Liebniz. In it, the author clearly lays the blame for evil on man’s free will which is exactly where it should be placed.


#19

No, and first of all as others have said, God didn’t make Jesus; God *is *Jesus. And Mary was graced in a special way-for all of our benefit-and yet she was as free as Adam was to sin.


#20

So why wasnt Adam and Eve graced in a special way like Mary from the beginning?


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