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Sorely Needed Wisdom: Wrestling With Genesis
BreakPoint ^ | 22 Sep 03 | Chuck Colson

Posted on 09/22/2003 4:06:31 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback

At a recent conference in Washington, D.C., the questions were asked: “Why Genesis? Why Now?” The event, sponsored by the Ethics and Public Policy Center, was a discussion of the new book The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis by Professor Leon Kass.

Both Kass’s book and the conference it inspired raise a question that Christians ought to welcome: What is the role of the Bible, in particular, Genesis, in twenty-first century American life? Do words written more than three millennia ago have anything to tell us about how we ought to live our lives today? The answer, according to Kass, a great scholar and the chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, is “absolutely.”

Kass’s book is the product of twenty-five years of studying Genesis and teaching it to his students at the University of Chicago. Those experiences led Kass to appreciate the “moral sensibilities and demands of the Torah,” although he confesses that his practice is still “wanting.” But he is no longer confident in the sufficiency of “unaided human reason” to answer life’s most important questions.

Genesis’s impact isn’t limited to the personal. What Kass, who is Jewish, calls the “crisis in modern thought,” especially in the moral and ethical realms, stems from our culture’s disregard for the lessons taught in Genesis. We have a “need for wisdom” in this area, one that requires a “serious examination” of the Bible, starting with Genesis.

And what better place to start than at the beginning? Even a reader who doesn’t believe in the inspiration of Scripture has to admit that Genesis chapters 1 through 11 are without peer in their accurate depiction of the “human predicament”: our strengths and our weaknesses, our nobility and our folly.

As Kass puts it, the stories in chapters 1 through 11, tell “what always happens”—whether the subject is the relationship between spouses, between siblings, or between man and God.

For instance, Kass’s chapter on the story of Cain and Abel, “Fratricide and Founding,” is a powerful antidote to our culture’s sentimental and even utopian view of human nature. Genesis’s account of how pride, jealousy, and anger cause us to prey upon one another is much more true to life than what we hear from contemporary “experts.”

Given Genesis’s insight and accuracy regarding the human condition, it’s reasonable to think that its insights on what it means to be human are likewise worth examining. Its account of what makes man unique and the dignity that flows from that status, like its portrayal of our faults, rings far truer to human experience than secular alternatives.

Genesis’s understanding of human nature and human dignity has implications for nearly every aspect of our culture: bioethics, human rights, religious freedom, war, and peace. That answers the question: “Why Genesis?” And the answer to the second—“Why Now?”—is that the alternatives to the biblical worldview have all failed. They have left us with the “crisis” Kass mentions, unable to find answers because we no longer remember the real questions: Who are we? How are we supposed to live?

To remember those, we, like Kass, need to start at the beginning—in this case, “The Beginning of Wisdom.”


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: beginningofwisdom; bookreview; charlescolson; genesis; leonkass; origins
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Dang straight we do.

In the beginning...God!

1 posted on 09/22/2003 4:06:31 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback
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To: agenda_express; banjo joe; Believer 1; billbears; ChewedGum; Cordova Belle; cyphergirl; DeweyCA; ...
BreakPoint/Chuck Colson Ping! If anyone wants on or off my BreakPoint Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.
2 posted on 09/22/2003 4:06:51 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (You want freedom fries with that?)
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To: Mr. Silverback
Get even more by reading to the end.
3 posted on 09/22/2003 4:30:02 PM PDT by ScuzzyTerminator
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To: ScuzzyTerminator
Roger that. the last two books of Revelation are some of my favorite reading. I even gave them to a friend for Christmas in 2001 as a booklet, because in the days after September 11th she had told me how much the end of the world scared her.

She's now a Mercy Ship missionary, not that I'm taking credit for that or anything.

4 posted on 09/22/2003 4:57:57 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (You want freedom fries with that?)
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To: Mr. Silverback
More people are reading the Book of Genesis than Hitlery's book, Living History!

The first book is history, the second is a complete fabrication dressed up in hard covers!

5 posted on 09/22/2003 5:02:50 PM PDT by Gritty
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To: Mr. Silverback
**For instance, Kass’s chapter on the story of Cain and Abel, “Fratricide and Founding,” is a powerful antidote to our culture’s sentimental and even utopian view of human nature. Genesis’s account of how pride, jealousy, and anger cause us to prey upon one another is much more true to life than what we hear from contemporary “experts.”**

But this is precisely the reason why everyone has abandoned Genesis (including many self-professed Christians). It so adequately points out that, Oprah is wrong, we are not basically good.
6 posted on 09/22/2003 5:12:11 PM PDT by kuma
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To: kuma
True.
7 posted on 09/22/2003 5:29:02 PM PDT by Mr. Silverback (You want freedom fries with that?)
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To: kuma
The heart of man (small "m") is desperately wicked. Humankind, in their desire to be self-judged as good enough, are dispalying the very thing first tapped by the serpent in the garden, namely, the pride of being equal with God, to KNOW good and evil and be their own bosses. That first failing is the key to all sin separation from God, IMHO. How else can one explain the rejection of so great a gift as God's Grace in Christ when there is no loss if the gift could not be given by God for the human to accpet ... if there is no Grace then accepting the Grace offered by God in Christ couldn't harm the receiver! Yet humans reject the gift in favor of their own lordship, using all manner of reasons to assauge their guilt, their arrogance. [Is there a lesson to be seen in the Islamic condemnation for anyone who accepts the Grace of God in Christ?... I think there is, and the author of such hates most the contrite spirit that bows to Christ's Lordship ... contrition and pride are at opposition, eternally.]
8 posted on 09/22/2003 8:07:26 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote life support for others.)
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: Mr. Silverback
I have always said that if we cannot believe Genesis, the groundwork and first book of scripture, then everything eles will crumble. Satan hates Genesis. That is why he tries his best to try to undermine it every chance he gets. I think that the reason Genesis has come into a larger focus now, is because of these truths. All other theories of beginnings have failed to answer any real questions. Only Genesis can gives us those answers. It is up to us to believe it. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
10 posted on 09/22/2003 8:40:24 PM PDT by goodseedhomeschool (returned) ( designeduniverse.com Fighting evos exposing years of lies, restoring conservatism.)
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To: Mr. Silverback; MHGinTN
Interesting comparison with Hillary's book.

But remember, in studying (or even in casually discussing the Bible as we are here!) you've GOT to realize that people's answers will fall in the "faith and morals" category: You can't ever "argue" for or against somebody's faith (even if that is disguised as a liberal's "opinion"(i.e. his "belief" and faith in secular immorality = our faith is homophobic and biased and hate-filled!). A liberal (or extremist will never change his "faith" based on our logical statements - because his answers aren't coming from logic or knowledge.

Usually, religious changes are more accurately termed "conversions" at the adult level, and "life-time" commitments are made when the child is trained through years of exposure every day: thus the liberal commitment to getting our kids indoctrinaed in the NEA/democrat religion through the schools and textbooks and culture in Hollywood and the mass media.

---

That said, the Bible can also be taught (read/understood)as a combination of literature, oral history of a people, religious dogma that MUST be followed as matters of Faith, religious law, civil law, religious stories, and parables, stories, poems, songs, and the family tree of a chosen people.


So, Creation can be a story, Job a story, and the tale of the man who found a pearl a parable - all without changing the fundemental Truth of the Bible at large.

Liberals try to trap the faithful by ignoring (misquoting/misusing/hating/ridiculing/deliberately distorting) the Bible, but most liberals have no "faith" but secularism/Marx/international socialism - or a deluded belief that "for the children" is a moral crutch that justifies any crime.

11 posted on 09/22/2003 8:40:36 PM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only support FR by donating monthly, but ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: Mr. Silverback
It was my great joy, yesterday, to embark on a two year journey - teaching Genesis 1 - 11 to my adult Sunday School class at the Air Force Academy Community Chapel. Additionally, my doctoral dissertation will be on those same eleven chapters, examining the roots of a biblical worldview in Genesis 1-11.

Anyone interested in following that class is invited to my web site where many of the notes and resources will be posted

Scrooby Manor Ministries

12 posted on 09/22/2003 9:25:39 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE
The problem with Creationists is that they insist on a hyperliteralist view of Genesis as an acid test of faith. I have very little problems holding to a high view of Scripture and a 15 billion year old theistic evolutionary view of the universe.

The issue is Christ, not an interpretation of Genesis.
13 posted on 09/22/2003 9:26:54 PM PDT by SchrödingersCat (Regarding Speaketh)
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To: SchrödingersCat
Ah, but good sire, how could that bunch of wandering sheepherders have described (much less counted) the right date when powers-of-ten, ten itself(!), logs, decimals places, and the zero itself had not yet been invented?

Yet, somehow, Genisis has every step of the modern story in the right order (from the creation of the first plasmas (waters above) and fusion to the seas and through continental drift, through the moon's creation after the earth and solar system to evolution to plants, insects, dinosaurs -> birds -> mammals -> domesticated mammals ....

Gee. Remarkable.
14 posted on 09/22/2003 9:56:53 PM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only support FR by donating monthly, but ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: SchrödingersCat
I think the brick wall is the following. Christ is the Second Adam. Now if there was no First Adam why bother with the Second?
15 posted on 09/22/2003 10:21:40 PM PDT by kuma
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To: kuma
I think the brick wall is the following. Christ is the Second Adam. Now if there was no First Adam why bother with the Second?

"Adam" is the Hebrew word for man, related to the word for red: Adom. It can be ssen as simply a first man.

The literalness of the second Adam may not necessarily imply a literalness to the first adam.

16 posted on 09/22/2003 10:32:24 PM PDT by SchrödingersCat
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To: SchrödingersCat
Allow me to start over and explain my logic. Your viewing it as a literalist thing but try approaching Theology as a mysterious science which observes and records life. If you do so you will recognize the NEED for the systematic begats. Just as there is a desire among scientists to tie up the lose ends with factual evidence likewise there is a desire for theologians (mystery of "life" chai scientists) to have no lose ends.

SchrödingersCat: "Adam" is the Hebrew word for man, related to the word for red: Adom. It can be ssen as simply a first man.

Doing that causes one to have to ignore Christ's lineage which precisely speaks of 14 generations between various well known biblical persons and more specifically 14 breaking down into 7 (mathematics being an intergral part of all science) which is considered Divine. The lineage proves his right to claim the throne of the Kingdom of Israel. The promise of redemption first being given to Adam and on down the line. To dismiss Adam as a person is to dismiss his descendents and in some respects it butchers the mysterious Divinity of Christ.

*note that the 14 generations is spoken of in Matthew which only goes as far back as Abraham. However, Luke's record goes back to Adam, even more specifically back to God (Adam being referred to as "the son of God") which can still be broken down by sevens.
17 posted on 09/23/2003 12:23:57 AM PDT by kuma
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To: Robert A. Cook, PE
Marxism/atheism/socialism is most definitely a religion and liberals are some of the most dogmatic adherents. For Christians faith is the evidence of things not seen. Liberals take their faith to the point of believing despite what they see.
18 posted on 09/23/2003 12:30:45 AM PDT by kuma
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To: kuma


Doubting Thomas's they aren't.

I would dare aknowledge that, in many/most/all liberals, their absolaute faith in the secular international socialist/facist/state-controlled dogma (despite the evidence that is fails economically and oppresses freedom!) is in fact greater than than of many/most/some Christian's belief in the real God.

19 posted on 09/23/2003 3:58:09 AM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only support FR by donating monthly, but ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: Mr. Silverback
Good post. I have found that EVERY subject which flows from the Bible has a parallel introduction, a 'first impression', if you will, in Genesis. It's remarkable how God crammed the raw ingredients for human life into a few chapters like that. Mostly, it has to do with man-to-man and man-to-God relationships, but everything else is in there too. (At least, everything I've tried to find so far...)
20 posted on 09/23/2003 4:08:33 AM PDT by ovrtaxt ( http://www.fairtax.org ** God may not be a Republican, but Satan is definitely a Democrat!)
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