O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Preterist interpretation of scripture seems to be moving at such a pace that I'm finding it difficult to keep up. Regarding Genesis, is anyone prepared to analyse it into chapters?

What would be helpful for me is to have some indication as to which chapters are considered to be solely allegorical, which ones are definitely thought to be historical, and which ones can be considered to be both allegorical and historical.

I'm happy of course to create a 4th category if need be, entitled "Don't Know" ! 

It's getting to the stage where I'm even wondering now if Abraham was a real person and if so, how does the genealogy of Genesis 11 fit?! But perhaps he's not - given the prophetic implication of Isaac's sacrifice?

Perhaps the answers may raise further questions, and hence more discussions


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Pretty close.  Everything except "de-constructing the pagan beliefs."  Many of my reasons have to do with technical details of the text.  Technical details that few have considered.  I find the technical details to be quite illuminating.

The text has no evidence of an oral source.

By statistical linguistics, the text has several narrators, none of which were the Moses-person who narrated Exodus, nor were they any of the major speakers of the text.

By the study of ancient languages, it is known that, Gen. 1-11 was written in standard Sumerian forms, including the authors' names and dates of writing.  The action of these chapters all occurred in Sumer.

Gen. 12-36 was written in standard Akkadian forms, including the authors's names and dates of writing.  The actions of these chapters all occurred in Akkad and Akkadian speaking Palestine.

Gen. 37ff has a third form.  This section was written by some unknown Egyptian scribe.

These details from ancient languages match the results of statistical linguistics.  When we read Genesis 2:23-24, we are reading the very words spoken by Adam (after 2 or 3 transliterations and a translation to English), first written down by Adam well over 5000 years ago, at the very time and place writing was first invented.

This is more remarkable than anything any Fundamentalist has imagined.


Reply by JL Vaughn 

Thanks...that information is really interesting. I haven't come across it before and will give it some thought while reading those particular passages

But..tell me. What are your reasons for rejecting the "de-constructing the pagan beliefs" theory?

Do you also agree, or disagree, that the creation was of function, rather than of material?


Walton's polemic view for "de-constructing the pagan beliefs" is based on Walton's assumption that Moses wrote Genesis.  If Genesis is far older than Moses, then Walton's argument and other versions, go out the window.

Function, but again, I disagree with Walton.  Walton believes Genesis 1 assigns function to a cosmic physical temple.  I believe Genesis 1 assigns function to God's people, that these people were God's original temple.

I recommend Wiseman (For info on styles of ANE literature), Radday (for analysis of statistical linguistics), Ryan & Pitman (specifically the chapter, The Guslar's Song, for info on oral traditions, unfortunately, they don't realize what they actually demonstrated), and of course, Martin & Vaughn.

If portions of scripture were only intended as a message to those to whom it was written, then is the scripture true that says "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 2 Tim. 3:16"

I can't for the life of me understand whole sections of scripture that talk about archaic things that I was never included in. for example, does 1 and 2 Chronicles resonate with anyone? How about portions of the minor prophets? Do they have relevance to prophecy that we can discern?


Just because it was written for someone else (original audience) doesn't mean it is not useful to us.  It only means that we can't pretend that it was written to us in our modern vernacular.  We have to work to understand what the text is saying, determine what it meant or was supposed to mean to the audience, and only then make application to ourselves.



"...and only then make application to ourselves."


Doesn't this statement assume that there IS an application meant for us? That is a big assumption.

Yes, with much study, one MIGHT be able to figure out what the original audience understood. That still doesn't mean that what it meant to the original audience has any meaning to us today. I can' t assume God ever intended everything He said to other peoples to apply to people and situations in this age.  That's too broad a brush to use.

Instead, I believe (at least unless I can be convinced otherwise) that there is a narrow part of the spectrum of scripture that is intended for modern man. Sure, we can use all the research at our disposal to uncover what things meant in the past, but that may or may not help us with present day issues.

The only thing I can bet my life on now is the assurance we received through the plain revelation of Jesus Christ. That much has not been hidden. In fact, even righteous people of old were deliberately given only a portion of the truth. Only when Jesus came was the full story told, and only by seeing Christ against this backdrop of history are we able to put some of the puzzle pieces together. I still say though that some portions of scripture weren't involved in the story of salvation fufilled in Jesus. If they were, then how in the world are average people supposed to figure out what is and what isn't worth spending your time with. Life is short, and there is too much in the bible to figure it all out. So I don't believe God really intends for people to figure it all out in this life. Yet, those things sufficient for salvation ARE clearly revealed.


Given the debate among Christians about what is sufficient for salvation, how can you be certain they are clearly revealed?



True enough, with all the camps debating what God may or may not require of us, I think there is still enough consensus about the essentials of salvation, but perhaps not the peripheral issues that we seem to divide over.

But getting back on topic, do you think there is always some application for us in scripture? Aren't some scriptures only meant to be speaking to their original audiences?

Reply by Doug

do you think there is always some application for us in scripture? Aren't some scriptures only meant to be speaking to their original audiences?

Hi Doug

Perhaps it's comforting to all Christians to know how God is so totally committed to His covenant people throughout the ages and irrespective of events.  And in this regard, I think that Chronicles was written as an encouragement to the Jews who returned to Jerusalem from exile. I'm sure Jeff will correct me on this if I'm wrong


What he (Euripides) said.

Whether there is always some application for us ultimately depends on how broad or narrow your usage of application.  Sometimes knowledge of history is its own reward.



I'll never forget the day that a Jewish friend said to me over lunch, "You know we Jews read the Torah on three levels at once, right?" And the heavens parted! With those words, she solved so many either/or questions for me. I've been doing the same thing ever since, reading on three intermingled levels. Because, if its true that this is the historic Jewish way to read Scripture, then it was the Jewish way of writing, teaching and thinking about the Bible too. And it was likely the way Jesus thought about and taught the Bible...and it would behoove us to get familiar with the way Jesus thought about, heard and taught the Bible!

And it works. It's been incredibly re-read Jesus' more cloaked teachings, like the Sermon on the Mount, with this model in mind. The three levels of Scripture are listed below (plus the mystical Kabbalah level for approved men over 40 yrs old), from Wiki. In my mind, from a covenant and cxn viewpoint, they basically translate to the literal, moral and covenantal levels.

As an aside, I also see the great artistry of God in giving us a Scripture that is not meant to be read as a one-dimensional static thing, but as a beautiful, dynamic dance weaving together multiple meanings and applications (and no, it doesn't mean you can make it say anything, it means you can be more sure of what it says with more points of comparison and confirmation). And this structure shows the compassion of God in giving us a Scripture that can be accessed by people who are themselves at many levels.

The literal or 'simple' level is great for teaching children the basic stories in a way that makes sense to them and keeps their interest. The allegorical level is a great level on which to introduce the 'moral' of the story, or the story behind the story to teach people that there is something more there. Perhaps middle schoolers are ready for this level. And once we have a handle on the grand sweep of the basic narrative and lessons, we can make covenantal connections and watch the colors really fly off the page as the story comes to life!



Torah study can proceed along four levels of interpretation (exegesis).[3][4] These four levels are called pardes (or paradise) from their initial letters (PRDS).

  • Peshat (lit. "simple"): the direct interpretations of meaning.
  • Remez (lit. "hint[s]"): the allegoric meanings (through allusion).
  • Derash (from Heb. darash: "inquire" or "seek"): midrashic (Rabbinic) meanings, often with imaginative comparisons with similar words or verses.
  • Sod (lit. "secret" or "mystery"): the inner, esoteric (metaphysical) meanings, expressed in kabbalah.

Now, add that it was meant to be listened to, not read.  Buy an audio Bible.  Trust me.





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