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

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Wed Aug 31 2005 - 16:24:15 EDT

I might as well pile on. The type of view espoused by Iain, Glenn & Peter seems to de-emphasize the genuinely creative power of the Word of God, an important biblical theme that reaches its climax in the Johannine prologue. When God speaks, things happen - e.g., Jer.23:29. There's a big difference between that picture & one of God setting out a schedule of events that are later to be accomplished in some other way. This is not at all to deny that in Gen.1 living things are created mediately - a point I have long emphasized - but that happens because of God's Word.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Robert Schneider
  To: Michael Roberts ; Bill Hamilton ; Glenn Morton ; 'Iain Strachan' ; 'Peter Ruest'
  Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 3:07 PM
  Subject: Re: How to encourage a former creationist to persevere in faith?

  I'm of one mind with Michael on this matter. That is I why I think it is erroneous for anyone to characterize Gen. 1 either as "scientific" (or even "pre-scientific") or as "allegorical." It is not allegory in the strict sense of the word, and its cosmology, rather, cosmogony, is that of it's own time. We should take Calvin's advice and "go elsewhere" if we want to learn science. The cosmological model implicit in Gen. 1 is no different from any scientific model. It was bound to be superceded, just as others have been superceded, with further knowledge about the creation. And because its theology is not dependent for its validity upon the cosmology, it remains true even in an Einsteinian/hot big bang universe.

  This is a very difficult notion to get across to many Christians, especially the 42% of Americans who believe that "living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time," according to the Pew Forum poll released today. And according to other polls, more than that percentage believe that God created the world in six days, less than 10,000 years ago. They believe that because they have accepted the YEC contention that this is "scientific," which gives them relief from their fear that "believing" in evolution means abandoning God, with all of the horrible consequences the YECs and others lay out for them. Given the fact, according to another poll, that only 7% of Americans (that's right, seven percent) really understand what science is and what scientists do, it's not surprising that people so ignorant would follow fearful hearts rather than risk-taking minds and be ready to embrace YEC and ID arguments. If only we could get them to realize that one of the most wide-spread messages thoughout the entire Bible is "Fear not!" (I counted over forty instances of it.)

  If someone asked me what I thought Gen. 1 is, I'd answer much along Michael's lines: it is theology couched in the form of liturgy. There may be something to the scholarly hypothesis that at one time it was a hymn chanted on the Judahite New Year's Day.

  Bob Schneider
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Michael Roberts
    To: Bill Hamilton ; Glenn Morton ; 'Iain Strachan' ; 'Peter Ruest'
    Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 12:43 PM
    Subject: Re: How to encourage a former creationist to persevere in faith?

    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!!

    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. 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.

    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

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Bill Hamilton
      To: Glenn Morton ; 'Iain Strachan' ; 'Peter Ruest'
      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 16:24:48 2005

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