Interpreting Genesis 1-3: Bruce Milne, "Know The Truth"

Commenting on “The Fall of Mankind” (Know the Truth, pp. 102-103), Bruce Milne expresses dissatisfaction with the “mythical view” which “rejects any historical element in Genesis 3″ (p. 102). He does, however, distinguish between the “literal view” which “sees the Genesis record as a direct historical description” and the “‘historical’ view” which “asserts that while Genesis 2 – 3 are not to be interpreted in a literal sense at every point, space-time events are certainly being recounted” (p. 102). Milne points out that the literal view “is less frequently adopted even among those who unquestionably acknowledge the full inspiration of Scripture” (p. 102). He suggests that “a degree of symbolism” is used in the Biblical account of man’s fall (p. 103). Milne emphasizes that when we speak about Biblical inerrancy, we must take into account the intention of the writer (p. 43). He also states that, in the interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis, we should take care not to dogmatize concerning the intention of the writer. Discussing “The Question of Origins” (pp. 77-79), he points out that “The divine origin of the universe is … not in question; the real issue is the correct interpretation of the biblical teaching” (p. 77). Milne distinguishes between “some degree of liberty in interpreting the biblical account of cosmological beginnings” and any denial of “a genuine act at the ‘beginning’ of time by which God brought the universe into existence out of nothing” (pp. 78-79). Emphasizing that “there is need for caution in asserting what Genesis 1- must or must not mean” (p. 95), he insists that “Dogmatism is inappropriate here unless we can show that Scripture necessarily requires a particular interpretation” (p. 93).

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