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

From: Iain Strachan <>
Date: Wed Aug 31 2005 - 15:29:29 EDT

On 8/31/05, Michael Roberts <> wrote:
> I have to admit that I cannot go along with these views expressed by Iain,
> Glenn and Peter, but I cannot get worked up about it. It is about 1- 3 on
> the Richter scale of disagreement- YEC is 9 or 10!!

Well, I'm glad to know I'm down to 1-3 on the heretic scale!! Just
don't mention the numerics. (I did once but I think I got away with it

> I think it downplays the literary and theological nature of Genesis which
> is to express THAT God is Creator and puts it in a specific style.

Actually I think there are clear literary elements as well. The
"evening and morning" before the sun is created seem to indicate that
this is a literary device. I wasn't saying it WAS "God's
specification document", e.g. EARTH/1/1/BC/4004 stored somewhere on
God's Great Computer. I said it was "a kind of" specification. It
tells us that God planned and designed the heavens and the earth and
the things they would have in them.

 I see Gen
> One much more as a hymn to the Creator rather than anything else and could
> be compared more to G M Hopkins' wonderful poem God's Grandeur than God's
> blueprint. Iain's idea leaves me cold but it may be helpful to some.

I am very familiar with G M Hopkins' poem "God's Grandeur" and it's
one of my favourites also. But it's not Holy Scripture, it's just a
poem. Just as a specification document is not Holy Scripture, it's
just a specification document. Genesis 1 is more than either of
these, as it is part of God's revelation of himself to us.

I would argue that Hopkins' poem is saying that you can see God's hand
in nature (and it also describes a fallen world, spoiled by men,
unlike Genesis 1, which describes an unfallen "very good" nature).
Hopkins surely has a sense of God's hand in nature when he writes:

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
  It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
  It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

and also ...

And for all this, nature is never spent;
  There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
  Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springsó
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
  World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

It seems to me that Hopkins is seeing God's hand in nature, despite
the fact that man has spoiled it:

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
  And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
  And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

By contrast, I think Gen 1 is not saying "isn't nature wonderful - you
can see God in it" , but it's saying "here is Nature. God made it.
This is how He intended it to be".

In short, Hopkins poem is one man's emotional and praising response to
Creation, which draws him into worship of the Creator. Gen 1 tells
you from the start, without the emotive response, that there IS a


> To me it is trying to get some kind of scientific ratification from Genesis
> rather than seeing that its purpose was to convince the Hebrews that the one
> God is the only Creator to a pre-scientific culture.
> To be gently controversial I can see why this appeals to some who have been
> YEC in the past. However I do think we are closer than may seem
> Michael
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Bill Hamilton
> To: Glenn Morton ; 'Iain Strachan' ; 'Peter Ruest'
> Cc:
> Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 4:50 PM
> Subject: RE: How to encourage a former creationist to persevere in faith?
> I have also been advocating this view for some time, and share your
> frustration. This view fits very well with the view that God commands and
> various agencies -- perhaps the earth itself (see Gen 1:11 and other similar
> verses in Gen 1) -- execute the commands. See also Psalm 19:1-4. God speaks,
> nature executes.
> Glenn Morton <> wrote:
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From:
> > [] On Behalf Of Iain Strachan
> > Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 6:17 PM
> > As a software engineer, I tend to see Gen 1 as a kind of
> > requirements document for the functioning system. "Let there
> > be" seems like a set of specifications. I might design a
> > piece of software with many different components & specify in
> > a design document that there shall be a module that displays
> > a graph of the data on a screen. The point at which I
> > actually "create" or write the software that does this, is
> > not necessarily in the same order as the various components
> > appear in the design document. So Gen 1: is perhaps a
> > blueprint for a "very good" creation.
> I have been advocating this view point for about 10 years. It is sad that
> no one ever seems to hear of this view. See
> Bill Hamilton
> William E. Hamilton, Jr., Ph.D.
> 586.986.1474 (work) 248.652.4148 (home) 248.303.8651 (mobile)
> "...If God is for us, who is against us?" Rom 8:31
> ________________________________
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Received on Wed Aug 31 15:30:41 2005

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