Should Genesis Be Taken Literally? (countering critic)

Negative feedback 15 January 2002

The following letter is from Richard Meiss, of Indiana (USA), who gave permission for his full name to be used:

To the Editor

The answer to the question of the literal nature of Genesis by Russell Grigg (“Should Genesis Be Taken Literally?”) was interesting and informative.  The argument that the early chapters of Genesis may be taken literally, as indicated by their literary style and internal evidence, was a good one.  But consider this — Moby Dick and the Wizard of Oz were also written in the style of historical narrative, and this does not mean that they are literal history.  Please do not confuse the literary form with the veracity of its contents or intent.


Richard Meiss

Editors’ note: There was no confusion.  First, the main point of the article was to argue against the common view that Genesis was written as poetry or myth, rather than history.  Second, the article gave reasons to believe that Genesis was true history, not a fictional novel in historical narrrative form (a fairly modern conception as C.S. Lewis pointed out).  It’s true that Moby Dick and the Wizard of Oz are not literal history … nor do they claim to be.  Neither do they claim to be the Word of God, as the Bible does.  The article itself pointed out that Jesus (in whom we understand you profess to believe) accepted Genesis as true history, as did Paul and Luke (he traced the genealogy of Jesus back to Adam — Luke 3:23–38).  See The Authority of Scripture for more information.