Young Earth Creationists Just Don’t Get Temple Imagery or Theology

I know I have earned a reputation for pronouncing beliefs that I do not affirm about Genesis, especially, with my Questions in Genesis series at Political Jesus.

Here is what I do affirm; my congenial response to Ken Ham on Joel’s Post: More Discrediting of Ken Ham, I advocated this view:

“The clear teachings of Scripture include where humanity was at the time of creation, yes? And since we were not there, we shouldn’t claim to know the whole story. For example, the first and earliest book of the Bible is actually Job, YHWH asks, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the Earth? Who created its boundaries, it’s dimensions?” (Job 38:4-5) Obviously, this is a rhetorical question, for no one was with with the Creator. So, what creationists and evolutionists both get wrong with their reading of Scripture that Genesis 1 & 2 has anything to do with history at all. What it is about, first and foremost, is about theology, and God ordering creation in 6 days, resting on the Sabbath, and then continuing to create.

I noticed one of your commenters on facebook said that the Bible is the context, and I think they are right. The Bible is the context in which we should examine Genesis. Just how does Genesis 1 -3 fit in with the rest of the Torah? The answer is simple. The same Hebrew verbs used in God’s order for Adam to till (abodah) and keep (shamar) only appear in the divine demands for the Levitical priesthood attend to God’s sanctuary in the midst of the Israelites, the tabernacle (Ibid). Also, like the Garden of Eden’s imagery in Genesis 1-3, God walks (hithallek) and dwells among the Hebrews just as He does with Adam and Eve. God is also accompanied by God’s guardian angels, the cherubim, which coincidentally guard the inner sanctuaries of the tabernacle and temple.

Genesis 1 and 2 are different and complementary. In Genesis 1, God is creating his tabernacle/temple (the world, creation), and in Genesis 2, God constructed the sanctuary. What creationists and strict evolutionists do not get about the images in the first three chapters in Genesis, is that it has to do first and foremost with YHWH, the God of Israel, and theologies of the temple. Any scientific observation, Christian and/or secular, that avoids this imagery and mystery, is not following the biblical text, but their agenda.

Therefore, from all I have seen from AIG, you are not following your text, but your own agenda and reading that into the Bible.”

Now, in addition, anyone can pick up the Old Testament, yes English translation, and find the very few and rare circumstances in which the imagery of Cherubim arrives on the scene (See 1st Kings 8, for example). When does it happen? In the context of the prophets writing about experiencing God in the temple, as well as King Solomon building a temple. We cannot understand the creation narratives in Genesis 1 & 2, apart from temple theology. Temple theology is not about our modern views of history, but about teaching human beings where our places are in the world. It is not about historic events where we use linear logic to gain access and master the sacred text, but it is about gaining entry into the presence of God, with God ordaining time as sacred. The six-day structure is about God ordering and structuring the world in six-days, as being of great significance theologically and ceremonially.

Far from undermining our faith in YHWH, evolution is compatible with Scripture, but only if we realize that the creation stories are primarily, first and foremost, doxologies of priestly theology, spoken and passed down in times of Jewish rites (as the Bible testifies itself, that the priests lead worship). Young Earth Creationists’ obsession with time and history both does damage to the text, and the Christian understandings of Creation, and the New Creation.

For more on this, please read A Theological Introduction To the Old Testament.

h00die_R (Rod)
priestly abolitionist time travelling supervillain

5 thoughts on “Young Earth Creationists Just Don’t Get Temple Imagery or Theology

  1. The ultimate question is “Is the bible inerrant and infallible?”… The answer is no. Inerrant, to me, means no errors. There are obviously errors, as in the order of creation…..two versions. Gen 1: plants, animals, man, woman. Gen 2: man, plants, animals, woman. The whole Median thing always did bother me, Moses’ father-in-law and wife, Medians, honored by Moses. Then Moses tells his men, kill all Medians, men, women, children, but save the young virgins for yourselves. Either Moses is a crack-pot, or God is a serial killer. Or the bible is a creation of man. Tough family in-laws. Many other examples. Infallible means to me to be trustworthy, which implies one interpretation. But for every ten people, there are 10 interpretations of the bible. A-milllennial, pre-millennial, post-millennial, as examples. There is an intrepretation for everyone. By definition, the bible is not infallible. Certainly the bible cannot be used as a science book, as YEC use it. The question, do you worship Jesus? Or do you worship the bible? The bible did not even exist, as we know it, when Jesus was on earth. So why are Christians hung up on the infallibility and inerrancy of the bible, except for their own supidity?

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