Did Moses really write Genesis? (Part 1)

Did Moses really write Genesis? (Part 1)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Did Moses really write Genesis?

A deadly hypothesis denying that Moses had anything to do with Genesis, based on spurious scholarship, is still widely being taught to future Christian leaders.
by Russell Grigg

Egyptian ruins

Egyptian ruins. Who wrote Genesis? Internal evidences in the text of the Pentateuch indicate that the author was familiar with Egyptian customs, as would be expected of Moses.

Nearly all liberal Bible colleges and seminaries, and sadly some which profess conservative evangelical doctrine, approvingly teach the ‘documentary hypothesis’, also known as the ‘JEDP hypothesis’.

What is the documentary hypothesis?

This is the liberal/critical view which denies that Moses wrote Genesis to Deuteronomy. It teaches that various anonymous authors compiled these five books (plus other portions of the Old Testament) from centuries of oral tradition, up to 900 years after Moses lived (if, in this view, he even existed). These hypothetical narrators are designated as follows:

•J (standing for what the documentary hypothesists would term Jahwist) supposedly lived about 900–850 BC. He/she/they allegedly gathered the myths and legends of Babylon and other nations, and added them to the ‘camp-fire stories’ of the Hebrews, producing those biblical passages where the Hebrew letters YHWH (‘Jehovah’) are used as the name of God.

•E (standing for Elohist) supposedly lived about 750–700 BC in the northern kingdom (Israel), and wrote those passages where ‘Elohim is used as the word for God.

•D supposedly wrote most of Deuteronomy, probably the book found in the temple in Jerusalem in 621 BC. (2 Kings 22:8).

•P supposedly represents a Priest (or priests) who lived during the exile in Babylon and allegedly composed a code of holiness for the people.

•Various editors R (from German Redakteur) supposedly put it all together.

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How did Jesus Christ understand Genesis? (Part 4)

How did Jesus Christ understand Genesis? (Part 4)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christ and His Use of Genesis

In John 10:34–35 Jesus defended His claim to deity by quoting from Psalm 82:6 and then asserting that “Scripture cannot be broken.” That is, the Bible is faithful, reliable, and truthful. The Scriptures cannot be contradicted or confounded. In Luke 24:25–27 Jesus rebuked His disciples for not believing all that the prophets have spoken (which He equates with “all the Scriptures”). So in Jesus’s view, all Scripture is trustworthy and should be believed.

Another way that Jesus revealed His complete trust in the Scriptures was by treating as historical fact the accounts in the Old Testament, which most contemporary people think are unbelievable mythology. These historical accounts include Adam and Eve as the first married couple (Matthew 19:3–6, Mark 10:3–9), Abel as the first prophet who was martyred (Luke 11:50–51), Noah and the Flood (Matthew 24:38–39), the experiences of Lot and his wife (Luke 17:28–32), the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah (Matthew 10:15), Moses and the serpent in the wilderness wanderings after the exodus from Egypt (John 3:14), Moses and the manna from heaven (John 6:32–33, 49), the miracles of Elijah (Luke 4:25– 27), and Jonah in the big fish (Matthew 12:40–41). As Wenham has compellingly argued,8 Jesus did not allegorize these accounts but took them as straightforward history, describing events that actually happened, just as the Old Testament describes. Jesus used these accounts to teach His disciples that the events of His own death, resurrection, and Second Coming would likewise certainly happen in time-space reality. Jesus also indicated that the Scriptures are essentially perspicuous (or clear): 11 times the gospel writers record Him saying, “Have you not read . . . ?”9 And 30 times He defended His teaching by saying “It is written.”10 He rebuked His listeners for not understanding and believing what the text plainly says.

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How did New Testament authors understand Genesis? (Part 3)

How did New Testament authors understand Genesis? (Part 3)

Monday, December 16, 2013

New Testament Authors’ View of Genesis

“Did Bible Authors Believe in a Literal Genesis?” pt. 3, by Dr. Terry Mortenson

The New Testament has many more explicit references to the early chapters of Genesis.

The genealogies of Jesus presented in Matthew 1:1–17 and Luke 3:23–38 show that Genesis 1–11 is historical narrative. These genealogies must all be equally historical or else we must conclude that Jesus was descended from a myth and therefore He would not have been a real human being and therefore not our Savior and Lord.5

Paul built his doctrine of sin and salvation on the fact that sin and death entered the world through Adam. Jesus, as the Last Adam, came into the world to bring righteousness and life to people and to undo the damaging work of the first Adam (Romans 5:12–19; 1 Corinthians 15:21–22, 45–47). Paul affirmed that the serpent deceived Eve, not Adam (2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:13–14). He took Genesis 1–2 literally by affirming that Adam was created first and Eve was made from the body of Adam (1 Corinthians 11:8–9). In Romans 1:20, Paul indicated that people have seen the evidence of God’s existence and some of His attributes since the creation of the world.6 This means that Paul believed that man was right there at the beginning of history, not billions of years after the beginning.

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How did Old Testament authors understand Genesis? (Part 2)

How did Old Testament authors understand Genesis? (Part 2)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Old Testament Authors and Their Use of Genesis

“Did Bible Authors Believe in a Literal Genesis?” pt. 2, by Dr. Terry Mortenson

When we turn to other Old Testament authors, there are only a few references to Genesis 1–11. But they all treat those chapters as literal history.

The Jews were very careful about genealogies. For example, in Nehemiah 7:61–64 the people who wanted to serve in the rebuilt temple needed to prove that they were descended from the priestly line of Aaron. Those who could not prove this could not serve as priests. First Chronicles 1–8 gives a long series of genealogies all the way back to Adam. Chapter 1 (verses 1–28) has no missing or added names in the genealogical links from Adam to Abraham, compared to Genesis 5 and Genesis 11. The author(s) of 1 Chronicles obviously took these genealogies as historically accurate.

Outside of Genesis 6–11, Psalm 29:10 contains the only other use of the Hebrew word mabbul (translated “flood”). God literally sat as King at the global Flood of Noah. If that event was not historical, the statement in this verse would have no real force and the promise of verse 11 will give little comfort to God’s people.

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Was Genesis 1-11 meant to be taken literally?

Was Genesis 1-11 meant to be taken literally?

Thursday, December 12, 2013


By Dr. Terry Mortenson on April 24, 2013

Anyone who has read the Bible very much will recognize that there are different kinds of literature in the Old and New Testaments. There are parables, poetry, prophetic visions, dreams, epistles, proverbs, and historical narrative, with the majority being the latter. So, how should we interpret Genesis 1–11? Is it history? Is it mythology? Is it symbolic poetry? Is it allegory? Is it a parable? Is it a prophetic vision? Is it a mixture of these kinds of literature or some kind of unique genre? And does it really matter anyway?

We will come back to the last question later, but suffice it to say here that the correct conclusion on genre of literature is foundational to the question of the correct interpretation. If we interpret something literally that the author intended to be understood figuratively, then we will misunderstand the text. When Jesus said “I am the door” (John 10:9), He did not mean that He was made of wood with hinges attached to His side. Conversely, if we interpret something figuratively that the author intended to be taken literally, we will err. When Jesus said, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up” (Matthew 17:22–23), He clearly meant it just as literally as if I said to my wife, “Margie, I’m going to fill up the gas tank with gas and will be back in a few minutes.”

There are many lines of evidence we could consider to determine the genre of Genesis 1–11, such as the internal evidence within the Book of Genesis and how the Church has viewed these chapters throughout church history. But in this chapter we want to answer the question, “How did the other biblical authors (besides Moses, who wrote Genesis) and Jesus interpret them?” From my reading and experience it appears that most people who consider the question of how to interpret the early chapters of Genesis have never asked, much less answered, that question.

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How did the animals spread out after the Flood? (Biogeography part 3)

How did the animals spread out after the Flood? (Biogeography part 3)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

So how might we explain biogeography within the framework of biblical Earth history?

by Dominic Statham

One process by which plants and animals could have spread around the world after the Genesis Flood is rafting—that is, on log mats driven by ocean currents. Actually, a growing number of evolutionists are proposing rafting as an explanation for how some plants and animals dispersed from one island to another, and even from one continent to another.14

When Mt St Helens erupted in 1980, a tsunami was generated in the nearby Spirit Lake, and this caused around a million trees to be uprooted from the surrounding hillside. These eventually settled on the lake as an enormous log mat. Following the great earthquake off the coast of Japan in 2011 and the resulting tsunami, a trail of debris formed in the Pacific ocean, around 70 miles (100 km) long and covering an area of over 2 million square feet (186,000 square metres).

Now the effects of the Mt St Helens and Japanese tsunamis were nothing as compared with the destruction that would have been wrought by a global flood. The flood we read of in the book of Genesis would have resulted in billions of trees floating on the surface of the oceans. These log mats would have been like enormous floating islands and, regularly watered by rainfall, they could have easily transported plants and small animals great distances. Some creationists believe that the pre-Flood world included great floating forests, a bit like the quaking bogs we know today.15 Perhaps these were broken up during the Flood and became rafts too.

The ability of ocean currents to distribute floating objects around the world was seen recently, when thousands of bathtub rubber ducks were lost off a container ship in the North Pacific. Within just a few months, these had floated to Indonesia, Australia and South America, and subsequently into the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.16,17,18 (See here.) Often we find plants distributed along coastlines and islands. The distribution of the Sago palm can be seen here. It’s found in East Africa, Madagascar, the tip of Indian and parts of Indonesia and Australasia.

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