RE: GEN 1-11: Beyond the concordist debate

From: Shuan Rose (
Date: Mon May 06 2002 - 14:16:18 EDT

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    I Hi wally,
    I I have read Francis Schaeffer some, and think him a good apologist and
    evangelical thinker. But I do NOT consider him an old testament scholar, on
    the level of Fullbright, gerhard von rad, bernard anderson, and others.And
    from my reading, the scholarly consensus is the GEn 1-11 is not historical.
    I I would also reject that the concept that Genesis 1-11 must be
    historically true in order to be spirtually meaningful. Was there a walking,
    talking snake? How necessary is THAT to the spitual meaning? How about an
    actual garden, or tree of life? Where is the River Pishon, referred to Gen.
    2? Did the LORD really walk about in the Garden, in the cool of the
    evening?(GEN. 3:8?)
    If all of this is metaphorical, then do we throw out Gen 1-11, or say that
    the Bible is false?
    TThe truths expressed by Genesis 1-11 are :

       1.. God created the universe
       2.. God made man, endowed him with unique mental and spiritual faculties,
    and gave him responsibilty for the earth
       3.. Man rebelled against God, and wanted to become like God.
       4.. Despite this, God stiil wants to save Man from his sin

    These truths are historical, in that they have consequences in our history,
    and indeed in the here and now. These truths call us to make a history that
    is different from the history we would make if they were not true.
    Now, these truths are clothed in language of myth, which is the why the
    Genesis flood resembles the Babylonian and Sumerian flood stories. Now, the
    purpose of myth is to to explain a culture's view of the universe and the
    nature of humanity, usually by telling sories of a primordial time beyond
    history.It is not to relate history.
    . The writer of Genesis, by taking those stories and arranging them into a
    "primeval history", is saying , among other things, that God is now acting
    in history to save fallen man.So Genesis 1-11 is in fact anti-mythical and
    therefore historical , in a deeper sense than whether there was a real
    talking snake.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: []On
    Behalf Of Walter Hicks
    Sent: Monday, May 06, 2002 10:24 AM
    To: Shuan Rose
    Cc: Asa
    Subject: Re: GEN 1-11: Beyond the concordist debate

    Shuan Rose wrote:

    > You and the other concordists are certainly right.Christianity is a
    > historical faith and we should not forget that It builds on Israel's
    > which is also deeply historical.
    > I think the problem is that Genesis 1-11 looks like history and is in
    > joined onto a historical account, so we want to consider it history. It
    > the genius of the the original writer( The Yahwist, according to the
    > scholars) to take an account of the saving acts of YAHWEH in Israel's
    > history, that originally started with the call of Abraham, and to extend
    > into prehistory . He did so by taking several seperate creation
    > arranging them into a chronological sequence, and inserting genealogies
    > cover the gaps.He did so in order to make the vitally important
    > point that the first saving act of YAHWEH was the creation of the
    > and that the Lord of Israel was also the Lord of the universe.
    > Now in creating his literary and theological scheme, the Yahwist mined
    > mythological traditions of his day and rewrote them to suit his
    > of YAHWEH. The flood story, for example is based on older Babylonian (and
    > possibly Canaanite) originals. the story of Adam & eve really does not
    > together seamlessly with Cain and Abel( hence the perennial question,
    > did Cain's wife come from?). The tables of generations work to link
    > what were separate stories. Following the Yahwist, the Priestly writer
    > Genesis 1 and the Priestly version of the flood story to the Yahwist's
    > foundation.
    > Now, this is what OT scholars say is happening in Gen 1-11. See, for
    > example, Gerhard Von Rad, The Problem of the Hexatuech, and the extensive
    > litetrature generated by that book. Online, try
    > Concordists and fundies tend to simply ignore the scholars view of Gen
    > 1-11."Lets not let expert analysis get in the way of our historical
    > reconstructions" is the motto of both groups. I think this a short
    > view that ends up in endless (and IMHO) pointless discussions on trying
    > extract a historical kernel out of Genesis 1-11. I have yet to see Glenn,
    > Dick, or anyone else get to the meat of Gen 1-11, which for me , is What
    > does it mean for ME and my community that my God is the maker of heaven
    > earth? As scientists, you should be able to contribute devotional and
    > theological insights that I, a non scientist, do not have. I would like
    > list to table (at least, for a little while) the whole concordist debate
    > hear some contributions on this question.

    I think, Shaun, that you seriously misjudge the dominance of
    "scholarship" as supporting the position that you promote here. I would
    suggest that you get a copy of Francis A. Schaffer's (A generally
    accepted "scholar")"Genesis in Space and Time". While deeply exploring
    the spiritual meaning of Genesis, Schaffer points out the reasons for
    taking Genesis 1-11 as a true historical account and backs it up with
    Biblical quotes from the New and Old Testament. Indeed, he suggests that
    it is _only_ as a historical account can it's deep spiritual content be
    appreciated -- and that "scholarship" that treats it as other than real
    history falls short of the true spiritual message. I suggest that
    reading it might possibly change some of your conclusions.

    I do not agree with Schaffer 100% but he balances off some of the
    extreme views in the opposite direction.


    Walt Hicks <>

    In any consistent theory, there must exist true but not provable statements. (Godel's Theorem)

    You can only find the truth with logic If you have already found the truth without it. (G.K. Chesterton) ===================================

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