Re: How to encourage a former creationist to persevere in faith

From: Glenn Morton <glenn_morton@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri Aug 19 2005 - 23:57:02 EDT

This apparently didn't make it to the list. 2nd try
 

RFaussette@aol.com wrote:

In a message dated 8/19/2005 11:05:41 AM Eastern Standard Time, dickfischer@earthlink.net writes:

Essentially, TE is a "weaker" position because traditionally TEs try to accommodate Genesis by assigning the inspired text to some condescending category such as allegory, tradition, mythology, or poetry. By contrast, what I have found more satisfying is to regard the Genesis narrative as the history of the Semitic people.

Genesis is mostly if not entirely allegory and it might be couterproductive to call allegory a condescending category. Allegory is used to cloak powerful ideas. Every passage has hidden meanings but essentially genesis is a blueprint for Jewish national success.

 

GRM: My problem with this is what it has always been. WHICH powerful idea. This approach makes Genesis be what every the beleiver wants it to be. It becomes the allegory in the eye of the beholder.

 

"Some have gone further and claimed the geographical

allusion is to a fantasy. For Cassuto, 'The Garden of Eden

according to the Torah was not situated in our world.'

Skinner claimed: 'it is obvious that a real locality

answering the description of Eden exists and has existed

nowhere on the face of the earth...(T)he whole

representation (is) outside the sphere of real geographic

knowledge. In (Genesis 2) 10-14, in short, we have...a

semi-mythical geography.' For Ryle, 'The account...is

irreconcilable with scientific geography.' Radday believed

that Eden is nowhere because of its deliberately tongue-in-

cheek fantastic geography. McKenzie asserted that 'the

geography of Eden is altogether unreal; it is a Never-never

land.' Amit held the garden story to be literary utopiansim, that the Garden was 'never-known,' with no real location.Burns' similar view is that the rivers were the entryway into the numinous world. An unusual mixture of views was maintained by Wallace, who held that the inclusion of the Tigris and Euphrates indicated an 'earthly geographic situation,' but saw the Eden narrative as constructed from a garden dwelling-of-God motif (with rivers nourishing the earth) combined with a creation motif, both drawing richly from those motifs as found in Ancient Near East mythological literature. The variety in these recent proposals is more than matched by the variety put forward during the Christian era prior to the middle of the nineteenth century; W. Wright covered this history in detail in 1860.

"If actualism in Eden's geography is considered

doubtful, then the story may be interpreted as a homiletic

exposition built on primeval residue, or as a late

sociological commentary. It might be a 'picture of

paradisal beatitude,' the idyllic goal of life in obedience

to the Torah. One interpreter saw it as a faint

recollection of the conflict involved in the transition from hunter-gatherer to farmers. Another found from its

Sumerian/Akkadian parallels an allusion to the royalty of

gardener-kings: man is not a servant of the gods but has

been made a king himself. Other interpreters found in it a

political allegory dealing with conflict between the

Judahite royal social and economic elite and the peasant

class, or a sexual allegory, or a polemic against Canaanite

religion, or a parable of the deposition and deportation of

a king to Mesopotamia (hence the inclusion of 2:10-14)/

Differences from the Sumerian paradise myth and the

Gilgamesh epic led Bledstein to perceive the Eden story as

intended to reduce men 'from heroic, godlike beings to

earthlings.' and to separate females from the extremes of

goddess or 'slavish menials of men.' In Genesis both (m)an

and woman are equally human...' and their creation lacks the usual Middle Eastern fertility cult overtones." ~ John C.Munday, Jr., "Eden's Geography Erodes Flood Geology,"

Westminster Theological Journal, 58(1996), pp. 123-154,p.

128-130

 

 

 

OK, from an allegorical viewpoint the story has been

interpreted in numerous contradictory ways. How can we tell which is correct? I think they are all wrong.

 

 

 

1 Tolkein interp: Cassuto: 'The Garden of Eden according to the Torah was not situated in our world.' This is the

 

 

 

1a Skinner: 'it is obvious that a real locality

answering the description of Eden exists and has existed

nowhere on the face of the earth...(T)he whole

representation (is) outside the sphere of real geographic

knowledge. In (Genesis 2) 10-14, in short, we have...a

semi-mythical geography.'

 

 

 

1b Ryle, 'The account...is irreconcilable with scientific geography.'

 

 

 

1c Radday: Eden is nowhere because of its deliberately tongue-in-cheek fantastic geography. McKenzie asserted that 'the geography of Eden is altogether unreal; it is a Never-never land.'

 

 

 

1d Amit: the garden story to be literary utopianism,

that the Garden was 'never-known,' with no real location.

 

 

 

1e Burns': the rivers were the entryway into the numinous world.

 

 

 

1f Wallace: who held that the inclusion of the

Tigris and Euphrates indicated an 'earthly geographic

situation,' but saw the Eden narrative as constructed from

a garden dwelling-of-God motif (with rivers nourishing the

earth) combined with a creation motif, both drawing richly

from those motifs as found in Ancient Near East mythological

 

literature.

 

 

 

 "If actualism in Eden's geography is considered

doubtful, then the story may be interpreted as a

 

 

 

2. Preaching: homiletic exposition built on primeval residue,

 

3. sociologic: a late sociological commentary.

 

4. utopian: It represents paradisal beatitude,' what an idyllic life is offered by obedience to the Torah and god

 

5. archaeologic: It represents the transition from hunter-gatherering to farming.

 

6. Mormonic: Man can become Gardner-Kingman is not a slave of the gods but has been made a king himself.

 

7. Marxist Itfs a political allegory dealing with the battles between the Judahite royalty and the peasant class, Marxist

 

8. Hefnerian its a sexual allegory,

 

9. fundamentalist: a polemic against Caananite religion,

 

10. Gibbonian, power is fleeting: a parable of the deposition and deportation of a king to Mesopotamia (hence the inclusion of 2:10-14)

 

 

 

11. Differences from the Sumerian paradise myth and the

Gilgamesh epic led Bledstein to perceive the Eden story as

intended to reduce men 'from heroic, godlike beings to

earthlings.' and to separate females from the extremes of

goddess or 'slavish menials of men.'

John C. Munday, Jr., "Eden's Geography Erodes Flood Geology,"

Westminster Theological Journal, 58(1996), pp. 123-154,p.

 

128-130

 

 

 

glenn

http://home.entouch.net/dmd/dmd.htm

glenn
http://home.entouch.net/dmd/dmd.htm
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Received on Fri Aug 19 23:59:08 2005

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