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There are some Christians who hold that genre is highly relevant in Biblical exegesis, and resolve the incompatibility of the, for examples, Genesis creation account, the start of humanity with Adam and Eve, or a global flood with Noah, with contemporary 'scientific' consensuses in fields like astrophysics, evolutionary biology, or geology and hydrology, by holding that Genesis 1-11, say, is essentially mythic, not something that impinges strongly on contemporary fields of history or science.

Those same Christians sometimes, however, also hold that the Gospel accounts are not in the mythic genre, but rather a genre more like reportage - historical accounts based largely on first-person testimony.

How do these sorts of Christians explain Luke 3's genealogy of the Christ, which goes all the way back not just to Abraham (post-Genesis 1-11) but to Adam, who is 'son of God'? Do they simply jettison inerrancy when it comes to the NT? Or are there other approaches for those who want to hold that the Bible is inerrant when considered in the relevant genre? (For example, if you found out there was no Middle Earth, it would be a mistake to say The Lord of the Rings contains errors because it describes Middle Earth.)

Also see In Theistic Evolution when do the genealogies in Genesis become real?

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Of course, I can't answer for all such Christians, but I can answer for one (me!). I think it comes down to a different idea of what inerrancy means. The books of the Bible contain what God wants them to contain, rather than being literally 'true' (according to 21st century human definitions of true, or indeed the human understanding from any era). I don't think there is any contradiction between believing that the account in Genesis is mythic, and that the Holy Spirit inspired the author of Luke to give a genealogy of Christ that went back to Adam. We can of course speculate as to why this is so, but that to me is akin to wondering why God has done anything - worthwhile and necessary Christian reflection, but one that does not have to represent a soluble problem.

As an aside, in this case, my personal feelings are that the extended genealogy is intended to link the writings of the New Testament with all the events, including the mythic events, of the Old Testament. I think it underlines the importance of the Old Testament to Gentiles converting to Christianity. To me, it says that Jesus is the incarnation of this specific promise, and the fulfilment of these specific covenants, and so on. In this way, this passage makes sense to me. I don't work for ancestry.com - I'm not interested in Joseph's 'literal' parentage.

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    "The books of the Bible contain what God wants them to contain"... yes, but they also contain Truth, because it is contrary to God's nature to deceive. Therefore, the "plain reading" of any scripture must be the most true reading. I asked a question related to that issue and did not get any fully satisfactory answers... because there are none; the very idea is contrary to God's revealed attributes.
    – Matthew
    Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 13:52
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    +1 So if I can try to summarize this answer, would you say the lineage in Luke is true in one way (and this truth is what's actually important in the text), but not in the 'literal' way a modern reader would typically take as the most obvious way to understand the genealogy in Luke? Would that be a fair summary? Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 17:03
  • @Matthew the idea that "not deceptive" = "must be plain reading only" is simply false. Genealogical questions aside, Jesus literally spoke in parables, and the bible contains metaphors, and many statements in the Old Testament require knowledge of Jesus' words and actions (eg, picking grain on the sabbath) to interpret correctly, often differently to the plain meaning in the text. Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 21:48
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    @OneGodtheFather I think that is a fair summary except for "the 'literal' way a modern reader would typically take as the most obvious way to understand". I believe a modern reader, assuming they knew the rough outline of Genesis 1:11, would immediately understand the genealogy to be not literal. Commented Oct 8, 2022 at 21:57
  • "Jesus literally spoke in parables", yes, but people knew they were parables. Many of them are clearly introduced as such. The majority of Christians across history believe(d) Genesis 1-11 is plain history. The apostles and even Jesus Himself speaks as if it is. The idea that God would allow such a misunderstanding to be so prevalent for the majority of history is... simply not in accord with His nature. (And that's just scratching the surface of the theological problems that result from a non-historic interpretation of Genesis 1-11.)
    – Matthew
    Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 2:38

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