Re: Hyers' Article - Cods Wallop!

From: Phillip Jones <>
Date: Mon Feb 23 2004 - 22:31:59 EST

And that's the whole're applying a present day common interpretive method to a text that was written in a time that was rich with allegory. You're applying a post-modern method of interpretation: separate the text from its original environment and allow the interpreter to set the rules. What you are doing is choosing to ignore the metaphorical usage of an ancient culture so far removed from our own, and applying your default method of reading text, allowing your own hermeneutical baggage to outweigh any background understanding.

In my job, I work daily with people from other countries. When I utter a cliche, sometimes I am misunderstood because the hearer is unfamiliar with my language usage via the cliche. This is the same concept, Dick: you cannot settle for a prima facie interpretation of something not written in present day American english.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Dick Fischer
  To: ASA
  Sent: Sunday, February 22, 2004 10:36 AM
  Subject: Re: Hyers' Article - Cods Wallop!

  Phil Jones wrote:

    Dick Fisher wrote:
>>The biggest problem theistic evolutionists such as Hyers face is what to do with Scripture. Typically, they proclaim the Bible to be "true" as an inspired piece of literature, but the truth stops short of being historically accurate. Instead of Genesis 1 being a chronological sequence of events, the order of presentation becomes in Hyers' words, a "cosmogonic" order.<<
    Because a text does not fulfill the role of a historical narrative does not deem it a source of lesser truth.

  I think Peter answered this better than I could. But let me add something and begin with the parable of the school girl. A certain man had a sixteen-year old daughter who was doing poorly in school. He helped her with her homework one evening, took her to school the next morning, and when he picked her up after school asked her about her day, whereupon she tells him something about her classes.

  The man listens intently and makes mental notes so that he can help her plan for the next day. That evening the man gets an email from her sixth period teacher who informs him that his darling daughter skipped class and instead went to the 7 Eleven with some friends. This resulted in a confrontation with severe penalties.

  The point of the parable is that the man did initially what we all do. He took the narrative of the day at school as if it was a historical rendition. It was only after receiving unmistakable, contradictory information that he was forced to concede that he had been misled.

  And that is the priority we need to give to the Genesis text. We take it at full face value as a historical narrative unless there is an overriding reason to assign it to some other category. First of all, it appears as a historical narrative, and even has "days" (which I would argue are intended as epochs or eons) sequenced from one to seven. The order of presentation follows roughly what we know from scientific sources. And Genesis has been accepted as a historical narrative from the moment it was received up until just recently when it has been questioned.

  And why was it questioned? Simply because there is a lack of understanding of the fourth day. Nothing else is so glaringly out of sequence that we need to look for alternatives to understanding Genesis One.

  One interpretation from Bible scholars more astute than I is that the subject of the fourth day is the function of the heavenly bodies and not the creation of them. Just reading the text, including the Septuagint version, it should make sense that this is at least a possible interpretation even if you may think it is a wrong interpretation.

  If we at least allow the possibility, and no more, that this was what the writer of Genesis intended, then we have in hand one possible, acceptable interpretation. If we want to explore other possibilities and raise them up for consideration, fine. If another method of interpretation proves to be superior, that's okay too.

  But the idea that Genesis One was intended as a polemic against false gods has no textual support. The notion that on day one he dispelled a couple of gods, and on day two some more, then on day three some others get the axe is simply "California dreaming."

  In lieu of any other reasonable explanation, I believe we should place Genesis One in the historical narrative category and move on to Genesis 2-11 where again I would argue that this too has historical integrity.

  Dick Fischer - Genesis Proclaimed Association
  Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History
Received on Mon Feb 23 22:32:11 2004

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