Chapter 1: Which God of the Bible?
The Evolutionary Lens. This book suggests a new way of being Biblically literate. It invites you to temporarily set aside any previous approach to the Bible and read the stories and lessons in an entirely new way by using an evolutionary perspective or lens. Through this approach, you may release the Bible as sacred, but you may discover it to be an integral tool on your spiritual journey.
Using a model of the evolution of consciousness, we can read the Bible as a document that displays how we as a human species have evolved our thinking and our understanding of God. The evolutionary approach to reading the Bible can help us reconcile with the religion of our childhood, mature our spiritual understanding, and address the questions emerging with twenty-first-century spirituality. With an evolutionary approach, we de-mystify the Bible and are free to study it without the bias of culturally imposed religious dogma, interpretations, translations, and concordances. …
The evolutionary approach is an essential tool to help us integrate or at least tolerate all the other lenses holistically. The evolutionary lens invites us to practice an integral view, honoring each lens as useful and valid for the individual and the collective, as we assimilate all facets and stages into a holistic understanding of the divine. This approach does not replace it, rather it compliments other methods of Bible interpretation.
Why propose a new curriculum or a new way to view the Bible?
Conventional instruction about the Bible is outdated and misinformed, based on theories of authorship that do not consider the past two hundred years of Biblical scholarship. With the application of two key tools, Spiral Dynamics, and the Documentary Hypothesis, along with insights from archeology, we can see a remarkable evolutionary treasure contained within the Bible. In this study, we will see that the Bible provides indicators that map the evolution of humankind’s perception of God, and it provides a priceless illustration that the evolution of consciousness is continuously in process. And because the evolution of the collective consciousness illustrated in the Bible parallels the evolution of individual consciousness, we can use it to understand our evolving perception of God and our relationship to God. This approach informs us about the value systems from which we’ve come, and the stage of faith we find ourselves in now. For a twenty-first-century spiritual seeker, using an evolutionary lens is potentially the most meaningful reason for revisiting these ancient scriptures.
Seeing the Bible with a new lens can cause much cognitive dissonance but it can also produce a sense of freedom. …
Chapter 3: Tool #2: The Documentary Hypothesis
For millennia, both Jewish and Christian teachings purported a myth that Moses was the sole author of the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures). From this myth arose a belief that the Torah was God’s direct revelation to Moses. Out of this premise followed the Christian teaching that the Bible was the only revelation of God to humankind, that it was infallible and fully inspired. (2nd Timothy 3: 16)
Anyone who reads these books logically will find the one-author theory unacceptable. Why would this author have written two creation stories? Why would he contradict himself in the story of the Great Flood? Why would there be two sets of commandments? Why are there different names for God? If Moses wrote the Torah, how did he write about his own death? The informed reason and logic of the modern intellect deems such discrepancies indefensible. Many of us have shelved the Bible in exasperation over these and many more contradictions.
Chapter 5: A Warrior God: the RED vMeme in the Bible
A jealous god. Jealousy isn’t very pretty, but it is a powerful motivator of the RED PowerGod. Example: The people perceived that YHWH had kept his covenant when he led them to victory against other tribes so they could have the land that he had promised to them. In return, YHWH demands their loyalty. This god commands that they do not intermarry, and they must remove other gods from their sight. (The pillars and Asherah in this passage refer to the altars of the female goddess in Canaan.) “Take care not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you are going, or it will become a snare among you. You shall tear down their altars, break their pillars, and cut down their Asherahs. For you shall not bow to another god--because YHWH: His name is Jealous. He is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:12-14, the J writer’s prologue to the earliest ten commandments).
Consider how you relate to this paradigm constructed by the RED/blue perception of God. The perception that God is a jealous god, demanding sole loyalty, develops further in the BLUE worldview. This premise, which infers setting oneself aside from all other groups that don’t adhere to your religious practice, is the foundation of all traditional religions. Consider the phrase, “There is only one God, and that’s our God!” That very BLUE statement could come from a fundamentalist Jew, a Moslem, or a Christian. Each of these religions comes from the God of Abraham, yet all are consistent with all levels in the First Tier of the Spiral because each think theirs is the only right way to follow this God.