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

From: Michael Roberts <michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk>
Date: Thu Sep 01 2005 - 12:10:04 EDT

Don't include me either
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Bill Hamilton
  To: Peter Ruest ; Iain Strachan
  Cc: Glenn Morton ; Bill Hamilton ; George Murphy ; Michael Roberts ; Robert Schneider ; asa@calvin.edu
  Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2005 5:00 PM
  Subject: Re: How to encourage a former creationist to persevere in faith?

  Don't include me in the group that wants one and only one interpretation for Genesis 1. The "God commands, nature executes" model seems reasonable to me, but I think much more is going on in Genesis than just that. I suspect other members of the "group" might also want to be excluded, but I'll let them speak for themselves.

  Peter Ruest <pruest@mysunrise.ch> wrote:

    Iain, Glenn, Bill, George, Michael, Robert:

    Apparently I poked into a hornets' nest, provoking a flurry of different and
    partially conflicting statements of what Genesis 1 must represent. What the
    different opinions have in common (with the possible exception of Iain and
    George?) seems to be the conviction that there is just one correct
    interpretation of a biblical text - an assumption I have repeatedly questioned.

    Iain Strachan: "Concerning whether it's a historical narrative, doesn't the fact
    that 'evening and morning' are written for day 1, and the sun wasn't created
    till day 4 imply again that a literal/historical interpretation is not indicated
    here, and that maybe this is a literary device?"

    Glenn Morton: (revelationary day model)

    Michael Roberts: "literary and theological nature of Genesis... to express THAT
    God is Creator... puts it in a specific style... Gen One much more as a hymn to
    the Creator rather than anything else... its purpose was to convince the Hebrews
    that the one God is the only Creator... a pre-scientific culture."

    Robert Schneider: "its... cosmogony is that of it's own time. It was bound to be
    superceded... it is theology couched in the form of liturgy... a
    theological/liturgical narrative..."

    Bill Hamilton: "God commands and various agencies -- perhaps the earth itself --
    execute the commands... God speaks, nature executes."

    George Murphy: "When God speaks, things happen. There's a big difference between
    that picture & one of God setting out a schedule of events... This is not at all
    to deny that in Gen.1 living things are created mediately... but that happens
    because of God's Word."

    PR: A normal text, as we know them, has usually just one correct interpretation.
    But a divine revelation may have more than one aspect. This is most easily seen
    in the prophetic writings, which often refer to both an immediate,
    contemporaneous issue, as well as one or even more than one future events.
    Virtually all messianic prophecies belong to this category. Of course, no human
    author is capable of foreseeing or guiding history, thereby producing such a
    coincidence of two or more different - and correct! - interpretations of a text.
    But God, being "outside" of time, has our whole time axis before His eyes - and
    in His hands.

    As far as Genesis 1-2 is concerned, I never denied the fact that its primary
    import is theological, nor that it is written in a beautifully poetical form and
    formulated in simple, anthropomorphic language understandable to the old Hebrews
    - as well as people of all times and cultures. I don't claim Gen.1-2 provides us
    with scientific information unknown to the writer and his contemporaries. But
    God being the ultimate Author of this text, I claim that it is feasible that He
    wanted to keep His revelation as unobjectionable as possible (the only central,
    absolutely required "rock of offense" [Rom.9:33] is the crucified Christ), and
    that He may therefore have prevented erroneous (cosmological or other) concepts
    of entering this text. He may have gently guided the thoughts of his writer to
    formulate in a way compatible with reality - even where this reality might have
    been unknown to that writer. We may therefore rightfully try to harmonize the
    text with modern science, but we can never _deduce_ science from it. Clearly,
    such harmonization attempts are always a secondary application of the text, not
    "the only correct" interpretation.

    The reason which led me to consider such a possibility is the astonishingly
    precise parallel that can be drawn between a linguistically feasible
    interpretation of Gen.1 and what we know of the history of the universe and of
    life. And at the same time, this allows us to read as narratives the texts which
    look like narratives, rather than declare them (broken) myths, (superceded)
    cosmogony and the like.

    Peter

    --
    Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
    - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
    "..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)

  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 Thu Sep 1 12:56:43 2005

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