A correspondent writes that ‘what the author intended to convey’ is ‘subjective and debatable’.

We receive many letters from correspondents questioning the ‘genre’ of Genesis—echoes of the serpent’s words to Eve, “Did God really say … ?”, in Genesis 3:1. For example, correspondent Jack D. of Indonesia writes:

I’m a Christian, and I will pray for you and your readers to realize that the Bible can be true without every word of it being literally true.

I read some of your articles, and I don’t get how in The Galileo ‘twist’ Moses you can, to explain the whole geocentric confusion, say “they failed to realize that Bible texts must be understood in terms of what the author intended to convey”, that Moses “by God’s spirit, was using the language of appearance so that his readers would easily understand”, and “A convenient figure of speech does not invalidate science; nor does it invalidate the Bible”, and “Likewise verses such as Psalm 19:6 and 93:1, which the writer(s) clearly meant to be poetic expressions, were given a literal meaning”, and yet at the same time you can insist that every single word of Genesis must be literally and exactly true.

Which is it? Should “Bible texts must be understood in terms of what the author intended to convey”? Can parts of the Bible be “the language of appearance”, a “convenient figure of speech”, and “poetic expressions”, used “so that […] readers would easily understand”?

Or does it all have to be “given a literal meaning”?

Surely the moment that interpretation and understanding “in terms of what the author intended to convey” enter the equation then it becomes an argument of interpretation and understanding—basically a matter of faith. You have faith that Genesis is literal, I have faith that it isn’t. If we have to consider the author’s intentions and meanings then it is subjective and debatable.

Still, you say “the text shows that Moses wrote Genesis as a literal account of the history of the world from the beginning of creation to the arrival of the Hebrews in Egypt”. Could you point me to that bit, please, so I can see for myself?

Russell Grigg, author of The Galileo ‘twist’, responds:

Thank you Jack for your queries about my article on Galileo.

Let me see if I can deduce what you intended to convey in your email.

From a straightforward reading of what you wrote, it seems to me that you are asking some questions about what I said, and that you would like an answer to these questions. This doesn’t seem to me to be a matter of interpretation, or involve any argument about your meaning, or to need faith, or to be subjective and debatable. So if these qualifications don’t apply to what you wrote, I don’t follow why they should apply to what Moses wrote. But let’s deal with them anyway. ….

Continue Reading on creation.com