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Here you’ll find resources used by Andrew Sampson for his teaching on Genesis chapter at Theology Matters, Plymouth, in January and November 2022, and November 2023.

Getting started

Here you'll find the participant handout for a day of teaching on Genesis 1 and 2. You'll find accompanying Powerpoints (which fill out the notes) in the following sections.

The modern scientific account of origins

Before we address the question of whether Genesis 1 can be harmonised with modern science, we need to make sure that we've understood the scientific story of origins. While it doesn't start "at the beginning", this clip from the BBC documentary "David Attenborough and the Tree of Life" is a good place to start.

How should we read ancient texts?

Three considerations are important when we read ANY ancient literature: the world in front of the text; the world of the text, and the world behind the text.

Making sense of Genesis 1

There are two main schools of thought on how best to interpret Genesis 1. The first (sometimes called "concordism") regards the text as being a scientific account of origins in some sense. The second (called "non-concordism") says that the text isn't a scientific account of origins in any sense.

The literary framework view

This is the first "non-concordist" view that we'll be looking at. Included is an expanded version of the handout with some evaluation of this view.

The polemical view

Here's a second (non-concordist) understanding of Genesis: the idea is that the text is written in the context of and in direct opposition to other creation accounts from Ancient Near East religions. One of the most important of these ancient creation myths is the Enuma Elish from the ancient Babylon.

The cosmic temple inauguration view

This is a third way of understanding Genesis 1. The idea is Genesis 1 tells the story of God establishing the cosmos as his temple, the place of his presence (where he's at home) and the "control room" from which he rules over all. Here you'll find an outline and some evaluation of the idea.

Genesis for life

While learning about different interpretive frameworks is helpful, it's important to remember that the text of Genesis is meant to be lived and not just understood. Michael Reeves's reflection on creation lifts the soul, and the books from John Mark Comer and Tom Wright are well worth a look.

Can a Christian Believe in Evolution?

Here, we focus on the particular problems associated with evolutionary theory, using Keller's online series to help us navigate the landscape. The third of Keller's questions, about Adam, Eve and the Fall, is especially tricky. Denis Alexander sets out five different models of making sense of the biblical data.

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