RE: Gen 1:1 and concordism (was Apology)

From: Steve Krogh (
Date: Sat Feb 16 2002 - 01:02:52 EST

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    Stephen J. Krogh, P.G.
    The PanTerra Group

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: []On
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    > Sent: Friday, February 15, 2002 6:52 PM
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    > Subject: Re: Gen 1:1 and concordism (was Apology)
    > Jim wrote,
    > 2. If the sun was already shining before v. 1, there could not be
    > absolute
    > darkness upon the face of the Deep that covered the earth in v.
    > 2. This is
    > usually "explained" by concordists by saying the account is given
    > from the
    > standpoint of someone on earth. However, when a person reads Gen
    > 1:1 and 2,
    > they (and I believe ancient Hebrews as well) envision it from the
    > standpoint
    > of the Creator who has been mentioned---from outside and above
    > the earth and
    > the ocean, not from the viewpoint of someone standing somehow on
    > the face of
    > the deep. Read the verses for yourself and see how you envision them. In
    > addition, even if one accepts the idea that the account is
    > written from the
    > standpoint of an observer on earth, would such an observer at 4
    > billion years
    > ago be in total darkness as verse 2 portrays? Never mind that the
    > observer
    > probably had no oxygen to breathe, were the clouds of CO2, etc so
    > thick that
    > no light whatsoever got through to the earth? I am prepared to be
    > corrected,
    > but I think not.

    The idea of the "narrator" being on the surface comes from the verse Gen

    "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of
    the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

    This verse tells where the point of view of the rest of the narrative. The
    narrator, being the Holy Spirit, would not have been too concerned about the
    environmental setting, being the Holy Spirit and all. ;-)

    Could the proto-earth conditions keep light from reaching the surface? I
    suppose so. I could speculate that it might be analogous to Venus, how much
    light reaches the surface of Venus through its dense cloud layer. How much
    interplanetary debris was present at this time? Even Mt. St. Helen's spewed
    enough debris in the atmosphere to make noon day look like night.

    > 3. If the sun is functioning before v. 2, then light certainly
    > exists. Why
    > then does v. 3
    > say, "Let there be light," which suggests that light did not previously
    > exist. And, the verse goes on to call the light "Day". Isn't a time 6
    > billion years of days later a little late for this? Concordists
    > would have us
    > believe this refers to God clearing some of the clouds away so an
    > observer on
    > earth, apparently treading water, could see a little light for the first
    > time.

    The Holy Spirit was hovering, not so much treading. ;-) With the atmosphere
    becoming translucent, the light from the pre-existing sun became aparrant as
    viewed from the POV. The rotation of the earth cased the night and day

    >This explanation depends on clouds that are not even
    > mentioned in the
    > text. I have pointed out other objections to this in my paper in
    > Perspectives.

    That is not surprising, a lot is not mentioned in the chronolog. The
    recorder of the events lived some 3,500 years ago, and was writing not only
    for the people of his time and culture, but for people of all times and
    cultures. I would think that the use of the simplest possible terms was
    essential. The apparent purpose of the account is to document various
    demonstrations of God's miraculous power in forming the earth and life upon
    it. Obviously, the account is selective. Only the highlights, those events
    most important in achieving God's final goals, are included. As a result,
    dinosaurs, for example, receive no particular mention. So maybe clouds not
    being mention should not be surprising.

    > 4. On day 2, we read that God said, "Let there a firmament...and
    > God made the
    > firmament...and called the firmament "Heavens", the same word as
    > in 1:1. This
    > is clearly the creation of the shamayim (heavens), the same thing
    > that was
    > supposedly created in v. 1. If Gen 1 is scientifically accurate and the
    > concordist interpretation of v. 1 is correct, at what point did
    > the heavens
    > disappear between their creation 10 billion years ago and the
    > need to create
    > them again 4 billion years ago?
    > This is not to mention the solidity of the firmament, which ought
    > to tell any
    > modern reader that this is an accommodation to the science of the times.
    > 5. On day 4, v. 14 says, "Let there be lights in the firmament of
    > heaven..."
    > and then in v. 16 "and God made the two great lights...the stars
    > also." If
    > the sun, moon and stars had already been created in v. 1, why do
    > they have to
    > be created again here? What happened to them in the meantime that
    > made them
    > disappear? Concordists would have us believe these verses are
    > just saying the
    > sun, moon and stars were not clearly seen until God removed the clouds
    > between the observer and the lights. But, the problem is not just
    > that God
    > makes these lights again, but that v. 17 says he "placed them into the
    > firmament." The phrase means to put something into the confines
    > of something
    > else (nathan with beth).

    If they were there In v.1 they didn't go anywhere. Nathan can also mean
    "caused to appear" as opposed to bara. They were bara in Gen 1:1.

     It does not necessarily mean that the
    > lights were
    > physically attached to the physical firmament, but it does mean they were
    > placed into the boundaries of it. If the sun, moon and stars
    > existed since
    > verse 1, where were they located? According to v. 17, they were
    > not placed in
    > the heavens until the fourth day.

    Could just be the in the sky, more of a colloquialism. Kind of an editorial

    > In their recent presentation of concordism, Held and Rust say
    > "The text [v.
    > 17] does not say that bodies were "affixed to the firmament," but
    > that God
    > "gave" the lights (the light rays, not their sources) "into the
    > raqia of the
    > skies," the region which previously could not be reached by
    > direct light."
    > The light rays were put into the firmament, not the lights? Say what? Gen
    > 1:17 says, "God set _them_ into the firmament of heaven to give
    > light upon
    > the earth." What "them"? The antecedent is clearly the lights of
    > v. 16, which
    > are the sun, moon and stars. Held and Rust's interpretation is utterly
    > idiosyncratic and clearly ad hoc.
    > There is plenty that tell us Gen 1 is not a revelation of
    > scientific truth.
    > Where then did the "science" in Gen 1 come from? The Mesopotamian
    > background
    > of the rest of Gen 1-11 along with the Mesopotamian background of Abraham
    > suggests strongly that these ideas come from Mesopotamia. The
    > solidity of the
    > firmament could have come from anywhere (all proto-scientific peoples
    > believed the sky was solid); but the dividing of the waters (Day
    > 2) is unique
    > to Mesopotamia. Of the over 150 creation stories which exist around the
    > world, only four mention the dividing of primordial waters: Two
    > are accounts
    > believed for other reasons to have been influenced by
    > missionaries reading
    > Genesis to the people, the other two are the Babylonian account
    > of creation
    > and Genesis. And no one thinks Genesis was written first.
    > In addition, since there is, in fact, no solid firmament and no
    > ocean above
    > it, we need not suppose this concept is a divine revelation. (And
    > the ocean
    > above the firmament is not clouds for there are no clouds above
    > either the
    > atmosphere or outer space as firmament has been rationalized to
    > mean by the
    > concordists) The most natural explanation is that this concept came from
    > Mesopotamia. Along with explaining why the sun and moon are just called
    > lights (rather than Shemesh which reminds one of the Babylonian
    > god Shamash)
    > and why the stars, important to Babylonian astrologers, were just
    > tossed into
    > the account ostensibly as an afterthought, the placement of their
    > creation on
    > Day 4 well after the creation of light is a strong polemic against their
    > divine status in Mesopotamian religion.

    I definitly makes it easier. An off-the-cuff editorial comment that would be
    diametrically opposed the the current theology of the area and times. God
    created the celestial bodies and are not worthy of worship as deities. Then
    we wouldn't have to fret over those pesky angiosperms.

    > In short, the theology of Gen 1 is magnificent. The "science" is
    > the science
    > of the times. I thus understand Genesis 1-11 to be a revelation of
    > theological truth, not scientific. The Bible can err in science without
    > charging God with a mistake because God has accommodated his theological
    > revelation to the science of the times; and it would have been a
    > mistake for
    > him to have done otherwise. Forget concordism. Preach God as a
    > Father caring
    > enough to speak to his little children in terms of their
    > pre-understanding.
    > Paul


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