Letters to the Editor: Feb. 21
Responses to “Historical Genesis is foundational”
Mr. Sterchi clearly knows his Bible, and holds it in high esteem. This seems appropriate. Without commenting on the substance of his arguments about the foundational nature of a literal historical interpretation of Genesis, I wanted to offer a caution about ever starting sentences with “God could not have…”
Joseph Kuilema, Professor of Social Work
I was saddened to read Connor Sterchi’s “Historical Genesis is foundational” in the Chimes on Friday. His argument — one made by many conservative Christians in the West — is based on Western cultural ideals of interpretation rather than the ancient Eastern cultural ideals of the original writers and readers of the Bible. According to Randolph Richard and Brandon O’Brien’s “Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes” and Richard Nisbett’s “The Geography of Thought,” Western culture has a belief that to be true, a story, fact, etc. must be literal. Sterchi’s argument contends that unless Genesis is taken to be historically literal, we can’t believe the rest of the Bible. The original writers and readers of the Bible would not have had this same belief. In fact, Pastor Ron Kool’s recent sermon at Hillside Community Church states the Israelites would’ve known that the creation story was similar to Egyptian creation accounts and understood that God was telling them that he created them for his purpose rather than how he literally created the earth and in what time frame. If we want to truly understand the Bible and how it applies to life today, we need to be studying how the original writers and readers would have interpreted it. That means delving into their cultural norms and historical perspectives rather than interpreting the Bible by our cultural ideals. And until we do that, we can’t speak authoritatively about how literal Genesis is or how science and the Bible cannot go hand in hand.
Leanne Nagel, ESL Instructor/Academic Counselor