Is Exodus factual?

Hi,
I'm Raafat a new member and friend from Egypt. I have an Islamic background, a Muslim no more though. I am now Agnostic, and in spirit of seeking the truth I've some questions about OT.

First things first, is the creation account to be taken literally? Or may be poetically? It is not-so-compatible with current cosmology and Theory of Evolution. 

Why does Genesis mention Edomite kings whereas they existed long long after Moses, supposing he is the writer?

Is Exodus account factual? There is nothing in Old Egypt that mentions it? If anything mentioned, I'd be very much happy if I was referred to it.

Why does Exodus and Genesis mention that Egyptians had Camels when they were only introduced to Egyptians in the Persian empire?

Does anyone here read about JDEP theory? If so, if it is right what are its effects on the faith?

Thamks, Salaam w Ne'maa

Comments

  • Welcome RaafatAbualazm to the Tasbeha.org. 

    Let me see if I can answer your questions.
    1. Is the creation account to be taken literally? 
    This depends on a few things. Why do you feel a literal account can't be factually accurate? How do you come to that conclusion? If it is poetic (or allegoric or symbolic), what is the author trying to say if he is not trying to give a historical account?
    These are questions most people don't ask before coming to their conclusion/answer. When they are not asked, no one will agree because they arrive at their answer with a different lense. 
    I can only speak personally and I do not represent the Coptic Church. I think Adam and Eve did physically exist. I come to this conclusion based on the fact that (1) the New Testament corroborates it and (2) the unanimous voice of our Orthodox fathers believed it was so. 

    However, there is much less unanimity concerning the time duration of the creation narrative (was a day literally a 24 hour period). I personally believe it was not a day in the sense we understand it today. I think genetic, archeological and fossil (paleographic) evidence convincingly show that it was not literally 6 days. I think the author was simply trying to convey an unknown category of time, set by God. Of course, if one is atheist or agnostic, I first need to make sure you can or do believe in God. Otherwise, my whole logical conclusion is nonsensical to you.

    2. Edomite Kings. 
    Why do you assume Moses literally wrote the entire Pentateuch? He obviously didn't write about his own death. Why does it matter this much? 
    Again, personally, I think the author mentions Edomite kings origins, not the ethnic demise of any particular Edomite dynasty. Even if Genesis did mention the end of all Edomite dynasties, I still think the author was trying to communicate an allegorical/analogical story, not a historical one. 

    3. Is Exodus account factual?
    Again, how are you going to define factual? Some define it as "supported by science". Well that is too broad and doesn't mean much since science and physics don't normally deal with epistemology. Philosophical models may help but they are often at odds with science. And also, why does Exodus factual consistency have to do with the intention of the author? 
    When you answer these, then we can discuss the factual evidence for Exodus. 

    4. I don't know much about camels and their social origins in Egypt. I don't think they were introduced with the Persian empire but I would have to evaluate the validity of this claim. If we find that whoever claimed camels came with the Persian empire was wrong, does this automatically prove Egyptians had camels before the Persian empire? No. But I would rely more on oral or common tradition in the absence of evidence that camels were introduced in Egypt late. As far as I see, the vast majority of scholastic historians and anthropologists, as well as modern day Egyptians, believe the camel was found in Egypt since very early in Egyptian history (way before the Persian empire).

    5. Never heard of JDEP theory. I can research it and get back to you.

    Thank you for inquiry. Keep asking questions.

  • edited January 10
    Welcome, Raafat!

    Great answers by Remnkemi as well.

    I encourage you to check out The Christian History Podcast - christianhistorypodcast.com (it will lead to the Facebook page but you can download the Podcast on iTunes or CastBox.FM or maybe Google Play for free).

    He has about 90 episodes so far going through the history of the world, showing all perspectives people have. He is a Christian, but he purposely does not insert his own position on things, and does not mention his denomination or anything.

    He goes through Genesis in about 70 episodes and is doing Exodus now. Any society, peoples, craft, food, crop, animal, etc that is mentioned in the book he goes into a history of it. 

    He talks about Creation and the different theories around it. He goes through each Old Testament Civilization. He discusses the theories behind the authorship of the books - in his most recent Exodus episode he discusses the JDEP theory.

    Check it out! He is a historian, but also a Christian so you may definitely benefit
  • Regarding the matter of the 6 days of creation,in 2 Peter chapter 3 verse 8, it's said that
    "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."
    So won't know how much time it took to God for the creation by reading the bible, cuz the time for us humans, is different than the time for God. If you want to know how much time it took the creation, you can learn that thanks to science.

    Sorry for my english
  • @AndrewRezk That's a wonderful and direct answer.
  • @ItalianCoptic Abouna told me about that xD
  • @Remnkemi 
    Hi there, glad that you are taking time to answer.

    "Let me see if I can answer your questions.
    1. Is the creation account to be taken literally? 
    This depends on a few things. Why do you feel a literal account can't be factually accurate? How do you come to that conclusion? If it is poetic (or allegoric or symbolic), what is the author trying to say if he is not trying to give a historical account?
    These are questions most people don't ask before coming to their conclusion/answer. When they are not asked, no one will agree because they arrive at their answer with a different lense. 
    I can only speak personally and I do not represent the Coptic Church. I think Adam and Eve did physically exist. I come to this conclusion based on the fact that (1) the New Testament corroborates it and (2) the unanimous voice of our Orthodox fathers believed it was so. 

    However, there is much less unanimity concerning the time duration of the creation narrative (was a day literally a 24 hour period). I personally believe it was not a day in the sense we understand it today. I think genetic, archeological and fossil (paleographic) evidence convincingly show that it was not literally 6 days. I think the author was simply trying to convey an unknown category of time, set by God. Of course, if one is atheist or agnostic, I first need to make sure you can or do believe in God. Otherwise, my whole logical conclusion is nonsensical to you."


    Well the creation account can't just be literal. Because, well, science says otherwise, the world is created and takes its form in billions of years.

    The earth was created after the sun, and how come there is water before there was light?

    Adam and Eve's account can't be really taken literally, or there are some interpretations of it that are compatible with the Theory of Evolution, which is a fact just as Gravity and has a theory that explains it. I studied it, there are evidence upon evidence supporting it.

    And I'm Agnostic, but I want to become a Christian really, for something is attracting me and the girl I like is Coptic, so I've inner and exterior motives. 

    "2. Edomite Kings. 
    Why do you assume Moses literally wrote the entire Pentateuch? He obviously didn't write about his own death. Why does it matter this much? 
    Again, personally, I think the author mentions Edomite kings origins, not the ethnic demise of any particular Edomite dynasty. Even if Genesis did mention the end of all Edomite dynasties, I still think the author was trying to communicate an allegorical/analogical story, not a historical one. "

    Well there were no people called Edomites by then, if I refer to the Vikings as Icelanders, it means that I lived in a time when Iceland did become a thing, challenging my claim of a very ancient writing. The same holds here.
    If moses didn't write all of the Torah then who did? How can one be so sure of its divine origins if it didn't came from a Man/Woman who had clear signs of Prophecy? It gets even worse when the writers are just unnamed, how can we be so sure of them?

    " 3. Is Exodus account factual?
    Again, how are you going to define factual? Some define it as "supported by science". Well that is too broad and doesn't mean much since science and physics don't normally deal with epistemology. Philosophical models may help but they are often at odds with science. And also, why does Exodus factual consistency have to do with the intention of the author? 
    When you answer these, then we can discuss the factual evidence for Exodus."

    factual means to me there multiple independent testimonies that thing happened, history is not as solid physics of course, but to have multiple recordings of the account indicates that some of it happened. But there's nothing other than Bible mentioning it. Or even the existence of Hebrews in Egypt.
    The factual consistency has something to do with the credibility of the author. If the author says it is history and then proved otherwise, then either he is a liar or misguided. Both mean there was no god involved.


    "4. I don't know much about camels and their social origins in Egypt. I don't think they were introduced with the Persian empire but I would have to evaluate the validity of this claim. If we find that whoever claimed camels came with the Persian empire was wrong, does this automatically prove Egyptians had camels before the Persian empire? No. But I would rely more on oral or common tradition in the absence of evidence that camels were introduced in Egypt late. As far as I see, the vast majority of scholastic historians and anthropologists, as well as modern day Egyptians, believe the camel was found in Egypt since very early in Egyptian history (way before the Persian empire)."

    Camels are just a proof that the writings are later than it is traditionally claimed and is later than purported time when Moses lived.

    "5. Never heard of JDEP theory. I can research it and get back to you.

    Thank you for inquiry. Keep asking questions."

    It is a theory about the origins of the Torah, have a look at i.

    Thank you for your reply, I'll keep asking questions. 
    Thanks again!
     

  • @teenosht

    Great recommendation, I'll have a look at it.

    Thanks!
  • "Regarding the matter of the 6 days of creation,in 2 Peter chapter 3 verse 8, it's said that
    "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."
    So won't know how much time it took to God for the creation by reading the bible, cuz the time for us humans, is different than the time for God. If you want to know how much time it took the creation, you can learn that thanks to science."

    Well that proves my point that it can't be taken literally.
    But straight to the point.

    Is it a church belief or it is left to the indvidual to decide for himself
  • edited January 13
    No. Actually it's to be taken literally, but in this case that isn't possible.
    Btw when the creation was in progress there wasn't a thing called "day" so when in the bible you read 6 days you have to take that as 6 periods.
    Sorry for my english
  • "No. Actually it's to be taken literally, but in this case that isn't possible.
    Btw when the creation was in progress there wasn't a thing called "day" so when in the bible you read 6 days you have to take that as 6 periods.
    Sorry for my english"

    So does this not-so-literal interpretation of the account go beyond the meaning of the 6 days. For example the order of the events? 
    The creation of Adam and Eve? Or how they were created.

    Don't apologize for your English, I don't write perfectly -or close to good for that matter- so no biggie if we all understand each other.  
  • i think it doesn't, but is better to ask abouna about those things cuz i may say something that is not correct xD
  • I'm not a Christian, and being in Egypt, if I enter a church the dudes who look at the IDs will ask me why I want to go in there. So meeting with a Father will seriously jeopardize my and his safety .

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