Today I wish to direct your attention to a piece by John Schneider at the Books & Culture section of Christianity Today, entitled “The Self-Defeating Evangelical Fight for Falsehood“.
What is the falsehood? It is the idea that the early chapters of Genesis must be interpreted as strict, literal reporting of strict, literal fact. To read it in this fashion displays a monumental insensitivity to the nature of the texts themselves, and renders it a sitting duck to anyone with even a bit of common sense. Yet evangelicals persist in regarding this as literal history. Why? Because of two hermeneutical assumptions: inerrancy (any book given to us by God cannot possibly contain falsehood in any form) and simplicity (any book given to us by God would contain God’s truth for us stated in its simplest and most direct sense). But if we read the early chapters of Genesis on their own ancient terms, without importing the presuppositions of inerrancy and simplicity, then we see that this is a complex ancient text and not simply a literal recording of events designed to arm us against the lies of Darwinism. We need to let go of these presuppositions in order to read and appreciate the early chapters of Genesis for what they really are.