Re: Genesis One and Concordism (was a lot of other things previously)

Date: Sun Feb 17 2002 - 14:20:20 EST

  • Next message: Jonathan Clarke: "Re: Genesis One that Fits, #3"

    im wrote,

    << Hi Paul. In Gen 1:1 and concordism (was Apology) you wrote
    >Preach God as a Father caring enough to speak to his little children in
     terms of their pre-understanding.
     Thanks for that remark. It fits beautifully. >>

    Before discussing Gen 1 further, I want to expand this. In the OT God is
    bringing a revelation of himself to people who lived over 3000 years ago. If
    you visit Plimouth Plantation in Plymouth, MA or the Jamestown Virtual Colony
    in Virginia, you can talk to people who have been trained not to speak to you
    outside of the ideas and knowledge that existed 300 years ago. If you speak
    of the world as it is understood today, they find it "queer." Now imagine
    what difference there would be 3000 years ago. Now imagine you have a message
    to bring these people, do you speak in terms of your understanding or theirs?

    When missionaries go to translate the NT for proto-scientific peoples, they
    run into culturally ingrained ways of thinking that sometimes force them to
    change what the NT really says. I have from good sources that a missionary
    went to the Bedouin and tried to tell them that "the wise man built his house
    upon a rock, and the foolish man upon the sand." Since they build their
    houses (tents) only on sand and found it ridiculous that anyone would try to
    pound tent pegs into a rock, they insisted, that is, intellectual
    explanations did not dissuade them, that Matt 7:24 ff should read, The wise
    man built his house upon the sand..." The translation is the exact opposite
    of what the NT really says. It is a false translation. It is not true to the
    objective facts. But, the message could not be communicated any other way.
    The ingrained cultural mentality demanded it.

    In a New Guinea tribe where pigs are the most important cultural animal, John
    1:29 reads, "Behold the Pig of God." Is that an accurate translation? Is it
    true to the facts? No, but the cultural mentality of that tribe demanded it.
    Why didn't the missionary just explain that sheep are the main animal in the
    OT? Were the New Guinea people too stupid to understand that? No, but the
    ingrained cultural mentality demanded it
    When the Bedouin tribal people grow up intellectually, they will hopefully be
    able to face the fact that the missionary made a false statement out of love,
    out of concern to communicate the saving message to them. It would be
    grotesque for them to say "Well, if we can't trust him to tell it like it is
    in the realm of tents, then how can we trust any of his translation?" And
    then divide into two camps (1) the missionary said "sand" so we must deny the
    actual facts, or (2) the missionary said "sand" but sandstone is made of
    sand, so it really means "rock."

    But, would God say something that was not true, not up to the standards of
    his character? Missionaries can do it, but God cannot? As far as science is
    concerned, I believe God delegated that task to mankind and does not reveal
    scientific truth in the OT. I am all the more persuaded of this because I
    have seen many cases throughout the OT and NT where the science qua science
    is the science of the times; and I have never seen it vice-versa. But, would
    God really do that? Would he accommodate his message to ingrained cultural
    beliefs that are dead wrong false?

    Jesus looked at Deut 24:1-4, a God-inspired law, which in v. 3 allows a man
    to divorce his wife on the basis of "hating" her, which in OT talk means he
    found someone else he likes better (e.g. Gen 29:31), and said, "Because of
    your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment." (Mark 10:5) What is
    going on here? Most commentators recognize that Easy Divorce was in ingrained
    cultural belief that had been going on for years before Moses got there; and
    God accommodated his revelation to that ingrained cultural belief.
    Commentators usually call it a "concession." And, you don't make concessions
    to holiness.

    I was looking the other day at Ex 21:2-6, where a male slave is allowed to go
    free after 7 years, but if his owner gave him a female slave as a wife, she
    and the children do not go out with him (period). The only option he has if
    he wants to keep his family intact is to volunteer to be a slave the rest of
    his life. That is God's law. Does it sound fair to you? Or does it sound
    contrary to the character of God, as revealed in Christ? Is it just possible
    that it is an accommodation to their ingrained cultural beliefs? To their
    ingrained hardness of heart? Modern evangelicals with their man-made doctrine
    of absolute inerrancy will seek a way to subordinate this word of God to
    their doctrine, but Calvin for one would do no such thing. He rails
    vociferously against the injustice of this law. He saw clearly that it was an
    accommodation to their hardness of heart.

    I could expand further. There a number of other concessions to hardness of
    heart in the OT, and they also show that the "high view" of Scripture is not
    a biblical view, not the view of Jesus, not the view of God, and ought to be
    laid aside. Without further examples I hope you can still grasp that these
    concessions are indeed contrary to God's character as truth and holiness, but
    in line with his character as LOVE. Every biblical "error" should remind us
    that God really has entered into history, and they should remind us of his
    incarnation, his coming to us where we were, his setting aside of divine
    prerogatives, his death for us.

    I will come back to the Gen 1:1 discussion in my next emails.


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