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How Should Christians Read Genesis? N.T. Wright

February 2, 2010

How should Christians read Genesis? Is a “literal” interpretation (whatever that means) the only way to go? (I’ve met both fundamentalist Christians AND militant atheists who would say so–they each have their reasons for that, one of them being “control,” or the ability to sit OVER a text as opposed to letting it sit over you). How can Christians reconcile these accounts with what we know from Science, and how does our worldview factor in to the discussion?

N.T. Wright is a brilliant and prolific theologian & author.  I’m not sure I’m ready to agree with everything he says, but it’s worth considering.  Those of you who know me know that the Science/Religion/Genesis stuff is what I’m least comfortable with when it comes to these discussions.  Wright makes some points in the following clips that should make both the Christian and the skeptic pause and consider their assumptions.  I’m eager to hear what you think!


These videos were produced by the BioLogos Foundation’s blog “Science & the Sacred,” which has many more resources worth investigating for these issues.  The insightful “RJS” (a Christian physics prof at a major university) is facilitating a typically thoughtful conversation over at Jesus Creed. The videos are also posted there if you can’t view them here.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Brian Kiley permalink
    February 2, 2010 1:26 pm

    Very interesting stuff. N.T. Wright certainly has a way with words. I think he is definitely right about the problem of sort of haphazardly “bundling up” issues as it pertains to biblical interpretation (1:35-2:00 on the first video). I also like what he had to say about studying Genesis for all it’s worth. It seems to me that a lot of the “debates” about Genesis are pretty reductionistic and they cause us to miss the thrust of the narrative, as Wright says. Certainly our tendency to flatten out texts so that they conform to the questions our culture is asking is very real, and it probably effects our interpretation of texts far beyond Genesis.

    As far as the second video goes, it does seems that many of us would benefit from being more aware of the particulars of our own worldview. I know for me at least, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing that I am unbiased and everyone else is, when the reality is that I bring just as much cultural baggage to the reading of Scripture as anyone else does.

    Thanks for sharing these videos, I always love hearing what N.T. Wright has to say.

  2. February 2, 2010 2:00 pm

    N.T. Wright is brilliant.
    I think you (Steve) and I are very similar when it comes to not being comfortable with these types of discussions. What I have found is that the discussion is normally between two people trying to convince the other person that they’re wrong, rather than finding common ground.

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