Re: Fw: [RTB Discussion Group] Wimps, Gimps and Blackguards:

From: Gary Collins (
Date: Wed May 14 2003 - 04:26:17 EDT

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    On Tue, 13 May 2003 08:01:47 -0700, Lawrence Johnston wrote:

    >Gary Collins wrote:
    >> Oh, dear, it seems like I should be burned at the stake.
    >LJ: No, no. Throw down those matches

    GC: Phew, a reprieve.

    >> Perhaps the author should read something like 'In the Beginning'
    >> by Henri Blocher. He shows that purely from scriptural considerations
    >> (before bringing in science) there is ample evidence to suggest that
    >> that much or all in the early chapters of Genesis might best be
    >> understood in a figurative sense.
    >LJ: Let me add, that I have profited a lot also from Blocher's
    >book, which provides the perspective of a scholar of Northwest
    >Semitic literature of 2000 BC. He says that the literature of
    >Moses' era was very sophisticated, with perhaps even more
    >categories of literary genre than in the present day. He says
    >that the elaborate structure of Genesis 1 into days, with the
    >repeated formulae "And God said Let there be. . . ." "And God saw
    >that it was good" and the "Evening and the morning were the Nth
    >Day" would preclude the interpretation that he was writing
    >straight historical narrative.
    >As I recall, Blocher concludes that Moses is placing the events
    >of creation in a set of six pigeon-holes which are arranged in a
    >logical order, but that the logic is not chronological, as a
    >literal view would assume, but has the following logic:
    >First the preparation of habitats for the creatures to come, and
    >then the creation of the creatures themselves: The sun, moon and
    >stars are created and placed in their habitats, the heavens, and
    >then the biological creatures, culminating in Man.

    gc: Quite so. He says that within the narrative 'day' has its natural
    meaning (24 hrs) - something which the YEC always emphasize -
    but it is the framework as a whole that should not be seen as
    literal. Furthermore, he points out that the exclusion of "Evening
    ann morning...." for the seventh day leads to the conclusion that
    the seventh day was not in fact concluded, and suggests that the
    seventh day in fact represents the whole of human history. He adds
    that Genesis 2:5
       "and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no
       plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent
       rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground"
    effectively precludes a literal interpretation of the creation week,
    for if the earth had been in existence for only a few days, it would
    be entirely illogical to state that the reason for the lack of plants was
    that it hadn't rained. Apparently, this argument has never been
    refuted. Are there any YECs on the list who would like to give it a try?

    >Gary, I'm not sure about what you mean by the term "Figurative",
    >but I take Blocher to be saying that he regards the creation
    >items as real events, recounted in a logical, non-chronological

    GC: Perhaps figurative was a bad choice on my part. (I knew what I
    meant, of course!) Maybe it would have been better to say something
    like: the early chapters of Genesis were written in a style that draws
    upon symbolic elements. He certainly sees Genesis as relating to real
    events, as do I. But the literal nature of those events may forever
    remain a mystery (in this world) and I conclude from that, that it
    is not important that we should know. It is the teaching - the theology -
    that is important.

    >Incidentally, I first heard of Blocher from John Stott, in his
    >book "Evangelical Essentials" (Intervarsity Press) which commends
    >Blocher. Stott is also a good scholar, and a great read.

    GC: It is good indeed to know that such a stalwart theologian and teacher as
    John Stott endorses Blocher

    "By tying up the weak case for a young earth in the same package as the strong case for creation, recent-creationists are almost asking to be defeated."
    -- Alan Hayward, "Creation and Evolution: The Facts and Fallacies," p.81

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