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Blog - 14th January 2024

Do I believe Genesis 1-3 actually happened?

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Blog - 14th January 2024

Do I believe Genesis 1-3 actually happened?

So, you're asking, "Did Genesis 1-3 actually happen?" I reckon this question is pretty important for framing how we understand the Bible, right? But, here's the twist: I actually think it's not the best question to ask. We get so caught up in figuring out the historical stuff behind Bible passages, but isn't that missing the real point?

Let's focus on something else: why did the writer pen the story this way? What bits did they choose to include, and why? We can learn more useful things that way then asking what actually happened?

Let’s take my wife and I. We’ve been married now for 18 months.When folks ask about our story, how we got together, we have a familiar patter that we give people. But even then the story can change a little depending on who's asking and the setting.

If I'm chatting with someone I feel comfortable with, I might dive into the more exciting bits. Like our first chat was actually part of Grace's dissertation on Christian views about sex before marriage. I often throw in that as a bit of a tease, saying that this chat was basically her screening me before we officially started dating.

But let's say time's short, or the setting doesn't allow for the long, winding version of our tale. This is where I get a bit creative with our story. If I've only got a quick five minutes, instead of going through every single event, I might blend a couple of moments together. You know, sort of mash up two separate events into one to keep the narrative flowing and make sense in the limited time I have. Or sometimes, I might shuffle the order of stories around. Not to mislead, but to paint a clearer picture of us as a couple in the time I've got.

And here's the kicker – people listening in, they get it. They don't jump in accusing me of fibbing or getting the facts wrong. They understand what I'm doing – trying to give a snapshot, the essence of how Grace and I came to be. It's about capturing the spirit of our journey together, not about documenting a minute-by-minute account.

This is how I look at the Bible. It's not about the exact order of events. It's about understanding what the writer wants to say. Take the Gospels, for example. They all tell Jesus's story differently. Like, in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus flips tables in the temple at the end of his ministry. But in John, it's right at the start. Some folks think this means it happened twice, but that's not it. Each writer had a different point to make.

So, back to Genesis 1:3. Asking if it really happened is kind of missing the point. What we should be asking is, why is the story told this way? What's the author trying to say about creation? That's the stuff that matters.

And hey, I'm not saying the Bible's just a bunch of made-up stories. Like the tales of how Grace and I got together, the main events did happen. I believe in the Bible's authority and infallibility, but let's not get too hung up on the tiny details. What's crucial is what the writer is trying to communicate to us.

Some of you might think this take is a bit of a cop-out, or maybe you find it helpful. Or heck, you might even think I'm on the edge of heresy. If that's the case, then you've learned something valuable: maybe I’m not your cup of tea. And that's totally fine. But that's my take on Genesis 1 to 3. I hope it's given you something to chew on.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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Author Bio

With a deep understanding of ancient religious texts, historical contexts, and original languages Bryn Joslin is a dedicated Christian author and teacher who is passionate about helping others understand the Bible better. He strives to cultivate God's presence in the world and curate His word for the benefit of all believers.

Bryn understands that expanding the kingdom of God involves bringing peace, love, and unity to every situation he encounters. He shares God's love and message in tangible ways to make a positive impact on those around him.

With an appreciation of the importance of daily Bible study, Bryn has dedicated himself to helping others develop a strong foundation in their faith. He believes that immersing oneself in the language, imagery, and themes of the Bible is crucial to understanding its meaning and message.