MCo:Non-Literal Readings of Genesis 1:1 to 2:3

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See also Burke, D, Interpretive Models for the Genesis Creation Bruce (talk) 22:25, 13 April 2023 (AEST)


Nobody has successfully made a truly literal reading of Genesis 1:1 to 2:3. See Problems with Literal Readings of Genesis 1:1 to 2:3

When people talk about this chapter's literal meaning they usually mean that the seven days are to be taken literally, and that it refers to a 168-hour period of time.

Interpretations of Genesis 1:1 to 2:3 not requiring a 168-hour period

Huh? six 24 hour periods is 144 hours!BP, 21 October 2018
Yeah but Genesis 1:1 to 2:3 includes the SabbathBP, 27 November 2022

This list is open-ended and the ideas are not necessarily mutually exclusive. They have been combined in various ways by various authors.

Interpretations preserving the sequence of events

  • Seven "days" each 1000 years long.
This is suggested to some Bible readers by Psalm 90:4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. and 2 Peter 3:8 one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (AV)
  • Seven cosmic and/or geological epochs
These epochs might be millions or billions of years in duration
  • Seven visions
These visions may have been given, perhaps to Adam or Moses, over a seven-day period.

Interpretations not necessarily preserving the sequence of events

  • Seven days of "divine fiat"
According to this interpretation (see Divine Fiat Interpretation) there were six days in which God gave the word "Let there be ..."; the outworking of it not happening at the same time
  • A poetical or visionary perspective
According to these interpretations the first six days give a way of thinking about creation but not a historical sequence. One example is the Framework Interpretation

Problems crop up in a non literal reading of the creation account, why was the account given if it is not in the tradition of "I say what I mean" history? When people write history they write it as intended and do not make it some crazy convoluted puzzle for others to figure out. That and there are references to Genesis 1 as the basis for the sabbath that do not mesh with allegory/symbolism and other nonliteral renderings in exodus:

"Exodous 20:11-- For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."

I think this is a problem for all old earth creationists and science is the problem for all young earth creationists. At what point does the biblical god become mythological and because the word and concept of God carries so much weight are people forcing the reading and their want to believe in a real god into the the bible because they refuse or are closed minded about secular ideas and the hopelessness in regards to death under the a secular view of life? --Mordecai 12:42, 19 May 2004 (EST)