Free In Christ

Finding Freedom in the Churches of Christ

Genesis: Earth

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This first thing that I would like to mention in the book of Genesis is the use of the word “earth”. When ancient people used the word “earth” they didn’t use it like we do today. To them the word “earth” meant “land” and did not refer to the planet Earth. This is because they didn’t see Earth as a planet among many, but they saw it as all there was.

They believed that the land was flat and was topped by a dome (called the sky, or the heavens) and the sun, moon, and stars were all connected to the dome. They also believed that the land and dome all set upon four pillars that held it up.

When we read the book of Genesis (and the entire Bible), we must remember that this is the way they saw it.

For example, Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. To the ancient people this meant “In the beginning God created the sky and the land”. This is an important distinction in many parts of Scripture and we should be careful not to read our scientific understanding of the universe into Scripture.

Genesis was primarily written to the Jews who had left Egypt on the way to the Promised Land. It is written in the way that they would understand it. When interpretting, we must keep in mind how the original audience would have read the stories and the thought process that they would use while interpreting. If we fail to do so, we will make many mistakes.

I suggest while reading Genesis that you substitute the word “land” where you see the word “earth”

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Written by freeinchrist

August 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm

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