June 3, 2014

genesisbanner“Reading Genesis 1-2: An Evangelical Conversation” will feature an in-depth look at the text of the biblical account of creation Sept. 30-Oct. 1, presented by the Bryan Institute for Critical Thought and Practice at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

Institute Director Dr. Daryl Charles said five speakers, representing a range of views on the origins issue, will discuss the literary context of Genesis 1-2, historical questions surrounding Adam and Eve, and the manner in which New Testament writers interpret Genesis 1-2.

The symposium, developed in conjunction with the Bryan Division of Biblical Studies, is in response to recent heightened interest and questions pertaining to the Genesis account of cosmic and human origins question. Some scholars have come under institutional scrutiny or been dismissed for raising certain questions related to the Genesis creation story. Mainstream discussion has been further generated by a spate of recent books on creation as well as the emergence of a popular think tank, the BioLogos Foundation, which aims to help the church think more responsibly about the nexus of science and theology and their relationship to the book of Genesis.

“New findings in ancient Near Eastern studies, new perspectives about reading the texts and understanding Genesis as a literary genre have yielded fruitful discoveries. Some of these challenge and some qualify a traditional reading of the creation narrative,” Dr. Charles said. “The focus of the symposium is the text of Genesis. What do we do with the text, and how do we interpret it in its ancient Israelite context?”

The symposium is not designed to resolve the question of the age of the earth, but to understand how Evangelicals who “confess that God is the Creator, support their positions based on the biblical narrative, despite differing opinions and interpretations, Dr. Charles said.

“We have in conversation five serious Old Testament scholars whose positions differ in nuance,” he said. “It is important that dialogue proceed in an environment of calmness and Christian charity. The very idea of dialogue may be threatening to some whose minds are made up – on both sides of the debate – but we simply want to be in line with the church’s historic position, that God is Creator over the material and immaterial world. How long and by what means this all took place is secondary, albeit an important discussion.”