Re: Hyers' Dinosaur Religion (was: HYAR'S...; Hyers' Article -Cods Wallop)

From: Don Winterstein <>
Date: Mon Feb 23 2004 - 03:03:01 EST

Ted Davis wrote:

"Actually, Peter, I don't think that the Hebrews viewed idolatry as much ado
about nothing."

I strongly second this thought. Even though some of the prophets (e.g., Isaiah) ridiculed idols as "nothings," the people themselves emphatically disagreed.

In fact, most of OT history can be correctly seen as a tense marital drama where the wife (Israel, Judah) develops and acts on insatiable cravings for other lovers (foreign gods) while the husband (God) vainly attempts to restrain her. The drama reaches its climax in the divorce of Israel (Jeremiah 3:8) and the subsequent bondage (captivity) of Judah. The captivity "worked" in the sense that Jews ever since successfully resisted idolatry and became the only nation in Roman times that was not idolatrous. A downside seems to have been that the trauma of the captivity caused many Jews to become fixated on the letter of the law. In any case it was apparently necessary for God to purge this attraction to foreign gods before Christ could come.

Important? It's the dominant dynamic of the OT!

As to Genesis 1, it talks about real creatures and so could be taken as a direct refutation and denial only of creaturely gods such as the heavenly bodies. A great many gods were something other than such creatures per se. Nevertheless, all of them were worshiped through physical representations (idols), and Genesis 1 would at least argue--as Isaiah does (e.g., 44:9-20)--against attributing any special merit to those physical representations.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Ted Davis<>
  To:<> ;<> ;<>
  Sent: Sunday, February 22, 2004 12:37 PM
  Subject: Re: Hyers' Dinosaur Religion (was: HYAR'S...; Hyers' Article -Cods Wallop)

  I appreciate Peter's very thoughtful post. I threw out the guess (I think
  my post made it clear that I was in fact guessin) about the canopy theory,
  incidentally, b/c I do see some relevance for it. The fact that YECs use it
  does not mean that some OEC people do not also use it as part of their
  harmonizing strategy. Dick says as much himself, with his comment about the
  canopy and the flood. I think it was a fair point, though admittedly
  somewhat of a guess.

  Peter concluded as follows:
  I would be surprised if God would give us such a
  sublime text, in a very prominent position in his revelation, for the sole
  purpose of fending off such unimportant "nothings" as idols. The creation
  itself is certainly much more important.

  Ted replies:
  Actually, Peter, I don't think that the Hebrews viewed idolatry as much ado
  about nothing. It was for them the fundamental sin, the violation of the
  first two commandments that God gave them and the ultimate sin in Romans
  chapter One. To respond to a host of polytheistic cultures surrounding the
  Hebrews, God gave them this splendid story in the established, already
  recognzied form of an ancient Near East creation myth. That makes perfect
  sense, to me at least. Surely it is highly significant to preach monotheism
  at the start of the canon? Surely this is why we have such a splendid story
  at that point?

Received on Mon Feb 23 02:58:04 2004

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