My family loves solving jigsaw puzzles. We always start by finding the corner pieces and then the edges. With the frame complete, puzzle-building becomes a practice in patience as everyone takes turns examining pieces, studying the image on the box, and trying out different combinations. Slowly, from the mound of seemingly unrelated pieces emerges a clear picture.
Something similar happens when we integrate creation texts from throughout Scripture. If someone asked us to show them the Bible’s creation story, most of us would point to Genesis. But Genesis isn’t the only piece to understanding God’s creative acts or the natural realm.
Mentions of creation appear through the Old and New Testaments. RTB founder Hugh Rossbelieves that in order to get a more accurate understanding of the biblical creation narrative, it’s necessary to take into account everything the Bible says about this hot topic. That means looking beyond Genesis to see how other books of Scriptures help reveal a clearer picture of creation.
Hugh’s latest book, Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job, does just that. Job is likely the oldest book in the Bible, meaning its teachings on creation would have been known to Moses, author of Genesis, and his audience. Hugh writes:
“In many respects, Job serves as an introduction or preface to Genesis. The gaps in the Genesis creation accounts that skeptics love to ridicule are not really gaps at all if the content of Job was familiar to the original recipients of Genesis. Why would Moses need or want to repeat what was already widely understood from Job’s epic poem?”
One feature of Job that stands out is the extensive ending monologue delivered by God himself in the last five chapters of the book. It seems obvious God’s direct comments on creation should be taken into consideration.
On the RTB website Hugh provides a list of the major creation texts. There are 22 key passages, besides those in Genesis. In Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job, Hugh explains:
“This wealth of creation content makes the Bible unique among the “holy books” of the world’s major religions. This treasure enables readers, through thoughtful integration, to discern from the Bible a reasonably clear, detailed, and unambiguous story of the origin and history of the universe, Earth, and life.”
This principle of constructive integration gathers all the appropriate pieces relating to creation and examines them together, helping us develop not just a clearer picture but also a stronger case for biblical creation.
Resources: To get a better understanding of God’s creative acts, check out The Bigger on Creation, a Bible study guide by theologian Krista Bontrager.
Hugh outlines RTB’s apologetics method and discusses the interpretive tools we use with science-faith, creation-evolution, and Bible-theology issues in “Interpreting Creation,” a five-part Today’s New Reason to Believe series.
- “Interpreting Creation, Part 1: Apologetics Methods”
- “Interpreting Creation, Part 2: Science-Faith Models”
- “Interpreting Creation, Part 3: The Scientific Method”
- “Interpreting Creation, Part 4: Hermeneutical Principles”
- “Interpreting Creation, Part 5: Hermeneutical Principles Continued”