This past Sunday, I was given the privilege of preaching Genesis 1:1-2. In preparation I came across this quote from Sidney Greidanus that perfectly captures my own thinking on how to interpret Genesis 1-3.
“Unfortunately, because for these difficulties many preachers in our generation avoid preaching on Genesis 1. But this a tragic omission, for Genesis 1 lays the foundation of our Christian faith. The very first article of the Apostles’ Creed states, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” If we fail to preach the message of Genesis 1 because of contemporary problems, we undermine the faith of the church. So how do we preach Genesis 1 today?
“I sound rule of interpretation is that one must first hear an Old Testament text as the author intended Israel to hear it. Now it seems obvious that Israel was not concerned about the age of the earth or precisely how God created the world. These are modern issues which may or may not be answered by the text. If we wish to do justice to the inspired author of Genesis, we must begin by carefully listening to the text. Instead of imposing our modern questions on the text, we must hear this creation narrative as ancient Israel would originally have heard it. After establishing the textual unit, therefore, we must seek to determine the author’s message for Israel (the theme) and why he wrote this message to Israel (the goal).”