Re: The firmament -- a solid barrier to concordism

From: Peter Ruest (
Date: Wed May 29 2002 - 12:50:38 EDT

  • Next message: Stuart d Kirkley: "Re: Randomness"

    Loren Haarsma wrote (27 May 2002 13:31:19 -0400 (EDT)):

    > I count approximately 11 Hebrew words which must be redefined (from the
    > author's original intent) in order to make the Genesis 1 chronology match
    > the scientific chronology in a typical concordist scenario. (In the NIV,
    > for example: light, day, evening, morning, expanse, waters above, waters
    > below, seed-bearing plants, fruit trees, form [the sun, moon, stars],
    > birds)


    Can you specify in which way the 11 Hebrew words were "redefined"? In
    particular, I'd like to know what you consider to be "redefined" in
    "Genesis reconsidered" by Armin Held and myself, PSCF 51/4 (Dec. 1999),

    Under redefinition, I understand an illegitimate or improbable
    interpretation or translation. In principle, I accept your definition of
    "from the author's original intent" as a point of departure. The mere
    fact of a difference from traditional interpretations does _not_
    constitute redefinition! But how do you know the author's original
    intent? And, more precisely, we should ask for the original (divine)
    Authors's intent (or possibly multiple simultaneous objectives).

    To demonstrate redefinition, you need to do this primarily on the basis
    of (A) the use made of the same Hebrew word or expression elsewhere in
    the Old Testament (each text in its context; and not just a few
    favorites), and secondarily (B) the use made in other Hebrew texts of a
    similar age (do any exist?) and (C) the use made of clearly
    corresponding words or expressions in texts written in related languages
    of a similar age (by "similar age", I mean at least 1400 BC, but if you
    don't agree, just take "500 BC or any higher age").

    Of course, (A) has absolute priority. Within this class of argument,
    interpretation has to take into consideration biblical theology, but not
    just any theological opinion.

    A case made on the basis of (B), (C), and theological opinion only is
    too weak to be of any decisive value: it remains one theological opinion
    among others. Any translations go under theological opinion. The beliefs
    that Genesis 1 represents a myth, or that it is based on an ancient
    near-eastern worldview, or that it cannot contain anything its author
    couldn't know, or that any attempt at harmonization with modern science
    is basically wrong, are also theological opinions.

    In the natural sciences, you usually can make a good case by resorting
    to "almost universal agreement", but not in theology, where a personal
    faith in the God of the Bible is a precondition for a proper
    understanding, but not for studying and expounding theology, where
    virtually "anything goes".


    Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
    <> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
    "..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed May 29 2002 - 14:52:09 EDT