Statements from Some Bible Commentaries Dismissing Credibility of Chronology
Taken from
The Jerome Biblical Commentary
and The New Interpreter's Bible
Comments on Genesis 5


1.   The Jerome Biblical Commentary says that the source of Genesis is ancient creation stories, geneological lists, songs, proverbs, and legends put together by Israel's historians.

The New Interpreter's Bible, in their commentary on Genesis, gives the word "story" as the best description of the type of literature used in the narrative.   It is suggested that these are typical and archtypical stories explaining aspects of human life in every age..


2.   The Jerome Biblical Commentary says that Genesis does not represent history in the modern sense of that term. It claims that the history is analogous, concerned with the "typical" and not the "individual event".   The story, it says, is of one particular catastrophe and is used to illustrate all such catastrophes.

The New Interpreter's Bible says that the material in the early chapters of Genesis is not historical in any modern sense but reflects Israel's own understandings.


3. According to the Jerome Biblical Commentary, the history found in Genesis is presented to an unsophisticated audience and so there is an "individualization" of "typical events". One man is presented as doing what many men did.

In a directive sent during 1948 in a letter to Cardinal Suhard of Paris, the director of the Pontifical Biblical Commission wrote of the Genesis account that "..they relate in simple and figurative language, adapted to the understanding of a less developed people.."
Quoted from Jerome Bible Commentary pg 8


4. "The possibility of a faithful transmission of the naratives from the primitive individuals featured in them to the historians of Israel is...fantastic.  The many millenia between the time of the first man and that of Israel would preclude, on natural grounds, the possibility of a faithful transmission..."
Jerome Biblical Commentary pg 8


5.  The New Interpreter's Bible commentary on Genesis gives this statement about the long life spans of the patriarchs.  "The biblical list (Gen 5) participates in a common folklore about the ages of early humans."

The commentator also claims that "it becomes evident that not everything in these chapters can be made congruent with modern knowledge about the world (recognizing that no field of endeavor has arrived at the point of full understanding)."


 

Assumptions

They

Make


1.  The source of scripture is not directly from God.

2.  The writers were historians not in direct communication with God but compilers of various narratives, legends, and myths.

3.  These are stories, not history.


The early events described in the first chapters of Genesis are not factual history at all but symbolic of or resembling some other event.

(ANALOGY is defined as "An agreement or likeness between things in some circumstances or effects, when the things are otherwise entirely different.

TYPICAL is defined as "emblematic; figurative; representing something future by a form or resemblance."- Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary)


People living at the times Genesis was written were "less developed" and therefore incapable of understanding scripture.


1.  The time between the first man and the establishment of Israel is much longer than indicated by the Biblical chronology.

2.   The first men were primitive and would need thousands of years to evolve.

3.  Life spans of the first men were short.

4.  All time spans given in the book of Genesis should be ignored.


1.  Again the assumption is that Moses did not write Genesis nor was it received from God.  Instead, historians compiled available writings and stories choosing what seemed closest to the truth.   The choice of inclusion is man's, not God's.

2.  Man's knowledge is evolving but still incomplete.   The Bible's historical validity cannot be established until man's knowledge is greater and further advanced.
 

Literal

Biblical

View


Exodus 24:4 "
And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord...".

Numbers 33:2 "And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the Lord..."

2 Peter 1:21  "...holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

2 Tim 2:16  "All scripture is given by inspiration of God."


Numbers 12:7-8 [And the Lord said]...My servant Moses...is faithful in all mine house.  With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches..."



"This chapter is the only authentic history extant of the first age of the world from creation to the flood, containing (according to the verity of the Hebrew text) 1656 years, as may easily be computed by the ages of the patriarchs, before they begat that son through whom the line went down to Noah." (Matthew Henry's Commentary on Genesis 5)


"All the patriarchs here, except Noah, were born before Adam died; so that from him they might receive a full and satisfactory account of the creation, paradise, the fall, the promise, and those divine precepts which concerned religious worship and a religious life, and if any mistake arose, they might have recourse to him while he lived, as to an oracle, for the rectifying of it, and after his death to Methuselah, and others, that had conversed with him...so great was the care of Almighty God to preserve in his church the knowledge of his will and the purity of his worship." (Matthew Henry's Commentary on Genesis 5)


"I must chiefly be resolved into the power and providence of God. He prolonged their lives both for the more speedy replenishing of the earth and for the more effectual preservation of the knowledge of God and religious, then, when there was no written word, but tradition was the channel of its conveyance." (Matthew Henry's Commentary on Genesis 5)
 
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