And does this affect our understanding of creation?

Karl Giberson, until recently of BioLogos, recently published a column on The Huffington Post entitled ‘The Bible is a library, not a book.’1 His premise was that since the Bible is composed of several distinct books, the factuality or otherwise of a single book doesn’t bear on the other books. So it would be possible, for instance, to accept the letters of Paul without believing that Genesis actually contains anything historical.

Filters—but what kind?

Giberson appeals to ‘filters’ and says, “You cannot simply read a book like the Bible—you have to read it through complex filters to properly understand it.” Anyone who has even a rudimentary background in Bible study would agree with this, meaning that he is knocking down a straw man. The original language, social context, genre, and several other factors are behind why we should read “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” as literal history, and why we shouldn’t take “Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!” as a statement indicating the Psalmist thinks God has feathers.

But to indicate what happens when someone reads with a wrong filter—Giberson does exactly that by reading a Psalm as a literal statement! “The Bible was quite clear that the earth was fixed and said so in so many words: “The earth is fixed and cannot be moved” wrote the Psalmist with unfortunate clarity in chapter 93.”

First, this is a poem. Poems can convey literal thoughts, but often use imagery to convey an idea through vivid pictures. Furthermore, Hebrew poetry is characterized by parallelism, where two or more lines ‘pile up’ meaning, each explaining and expanding what comes before. So the parallelism in the context of Psalm 93 (NASB, lines divided and phrases italicized to show parallelism)

The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.

Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting….

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