Re: [asa] Critical review of Dawkins' Book by the "Liberal Media"

From: Janice Matchett <>
Date: Fri Dec 29 2006 - 16:17:43 EST

I found it!

It was something I posted in the thread on FR I started. Here it is. ~ Janice

Sees Room For Belief (Francis Collins)
and Religion] The News & Observer, Canada ^ | July 21, 2006 | Catherine Clabby
Posted on 07/23/2006 1:34:01 PM EDT by

[snipped commentary] Dropping down to my post #4:

I think this is a pretty interesting item:

Thursday, January 19, 2006 - 7:00 PM

Dr. John Walton - Reading Genesis 1 with Ancient Eyes: What does it
mean to create?

If we are to reach an understanding of an ancient text such as
Genesis 1, we have to be able to think about the issues the way the
ancients would have.

A foundational issue is the way people think about existence.

In the ancient world they believed that something existed when it had
a role and a function in an ordered system. This is in stark contrast
to our way of thinking, that something exists when it has material properties.

In our world, to cause something to exist (i.e., to create) involves
giving something material properties. In the ancient world, to cause
something to exist involves giving it a function and a role.

In Hebrew, the word translated "create" (bara') expresses this very idea.

So, "In the beginning period (the Hebrew expresses a period, not a
point, referring to the seven day period), God created (gave
functions to) the cosmos.

Thus in Gen. 1:2 the narrative starts with no functions (not with no
matter), and assigns functions by separating and naming.

After the major functions of human existence are established, he
assigns functionaries to their various spheres.

The cosmos is portrayed in the ancient world and in the Bible as a
temple, and temples are designed to be micro-models of the cosmos.

Temples are built in the ancient world for the gods to rest in, which
does not refer to relaxing, but to enjoying and maintaining security
and order.

With the mention of God's rest on day seven, we can see that Genesis
1 is also thinking about the cosmos as a temple.

God is creating his dwelling place, putting people into it as his
images (representatives), and taking up his place at the helm to
maintain the order he has established.

The theology of the text presents God as the one who is the founder
and CEO of the cosmos. He has brought order, established functions,
and maintains the cosmos moment by moment.

The insistence on his purposes and his engagement are the polar
opposite of a naturalistic view of creation, which has no room for
purpose or divine engagement.

The theology also speaks to the real issue of creation: who is in charge?

Dr. Walton is Professor of Old Testament in Biblical and Theological
Studies at Wheaton Graduate School, Wheaton IL. He received his PhD
in Hebrew and Cognate Studies from Hebrew Union College - Jewish
Institute of Religion in 1981. (more)

posted on 07/23/2006 10:51:43 AM PDT by

At 02:16 PM 12/29/2006, Jim Armstrong wrote:

>Yeh, there was conversation on this particular matter some months
>ago. I had run into this understanding through a lecture on ancient
>Hebrew thought relating to Genesis by4 Dr. John Walton, OT
>Professor. A smilar lecture is on the Wheaton site. JimA
>Janice Matchett wrote:
>>It seems to me as if I read somewhere that in Hebrew thought there
>>is an idea that until God names and gives function to what he has
>>created out of nothing, it doesn't exist in time, even though it exists.
>>I don't know if I got that right or not. I vaguely remember either
>>posting something , or reading something to that effect. If so, I
>>believe it may have come from some ANE literature that J.P. Holding
>>was discussing in one of his commentaries. When I get time I'll
>>try and track it down.
>>That may be what Jim is referring to. Or not. :)
>>~ Janice

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Received on Fri Dec 29 16:17:57 2006

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