Don’t Make this Mistake When you Read the Bible

Don’t Make this Mistake When you Read the Bible

What is a common mistake people make when they read the Bible—particularly the creation stories in Genesis? They forget that it is an ancient text. Why does this matter? Because ancient literature, like modern literature, is embedded with the assumptions of its own time. If we read ancient texts merely from the perspective of our modern worldview, then we risk imposing upon those texts questions they were never meant to answer. And when we do that, we morph the text so that it only gives answers that conform to our likes and expectations. In this case, the text will no longer challenge our views; it can only confirm them. This, I think, is what happens when we ask questions about science from Genesis 1-2 (young earth creationists and old earth creationists both make this mistake).

The fact is, Genesis is not a modern book. It’s an ancient book, embedded with ancient assumptions about the world. And that’s okay. The ultimate point of Genesis 1 isn’t to teach science, but theology. If St. John has anything to say about it, Genesis 1 is meant to point us to the Logos—to the Word (John 1). So when you sit down to read Genesis, see it not as a science book, but as a theo-logos book.

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