Re: [asa] A few literal problems in Genesis

From: <philtill@aol.com>
Date: Tue Mar 11 2008 - 20:22:19 EDT

Jim,

I think the parallelism in the text is decisive:? note that the 8 creation events in Genesis always follow a set pattern.? First, there is a fiat command; then there is a response.?

Examples:

FIAT:? Then God said, let there be light
RESPONSE:? and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.

FIAT:? Then God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."
RESPONSE:? God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.

Every creation event follows the FIAT-RESPONSE format.? (And by the way, there are 8 creation events because Days 3 and 6 each contain two FIAT-RESPONSE patterns?in sequence.)? By the parallelism of the FIAT with the RESPONSE we can gain insight into what the particular verbs mean.? So here is the relevant one:

FIAT:? Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind";
RESPONSE:? and it was so.?God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind.

So "bring forth" is parallel with "God made."? The FIAT means "let the earth be in a state where it 'brings forth' life as in 'displaying' its abundance."??The?RESPONSE?doesn't say that the earth was the actionee bringing itself to this state.? Rather it says that God was the actionee bringing the earth to that state.? I believe the overall parallel structure of the text indicates that God simply did it as a creative action and there is no hint that the Earth did anything creatively.? Therefore, I'd default to believing that "bring forth" is the final state of being of the earth, not a verb describing the creative activity.

Phil

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Armstrong <jarmstro@qwest.net>
To: ASA <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Tue, 11 Mar 2008 7:15 pm
Subject: Re: [asa] A few literal problems in Genesis

Of course this is possible, presuming that the best interpretation of scripture allows this position. But this too is reading into the text. We may also be inclined to quickly dismiss as well simply because a tension with held conviction is more easily and quickly dispatched in this way.

Regards - JimA [Friend of ASA]

philtill@aol.com wrote:

I'm not sure the phrase "let the waters bring forth..." is really describing a process, as much was we would like to believe it does for the sake of concordism.? Instead, I think it might mean, "let the waters display...".? A possibly similar phrase is found in the NT in Matt.13:52 where Jesus says, "Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old."? The idea in "bringing out" or "bringing forth" might be to display its richness rather than a process of creation.? Thus, God causes the waters to have lots of life that it can "bring forth" and display to God's glory.? I think the idea of a drawn-out process is a modern idea that we are too quick to read into the text.

Phil

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Armstrong <jarmstro@qwest.net>
To: ASA <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Tue, 11 Mar 2008 2:16 pm
Subject: Re: [asa] A few literal problems in Genesis

Just to perhaps speak the obvious, but with respect to your first "ponder", the Genesis 1:20-21 passages, including, "...Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life..." are additionally interesting. They are interesting in their very presence, given the seemingly sufficient "out of the dust of the ground" passage. It is of course also interesting because of its possible descriptive accommodation of an evolutionary process. Neither passage of course proves anything relating to evolution, but they do seem to me to make clear room for such a progressive creative process, even to a very literal interpreter of Scripture unless they are just to be ignored. They are there in plain view for every reader, and their very presence sure seems to me to make it hard to explain them away. Despite the "kinds" sophistry, they seem to me to clearly describe some sort of? developmental process, and it is no stretch at all in my view for that process to be one and th
 e same as an evolutionary process, at the very least making room for that aspect of concordism.

I'm not a concordist per se, but I do still think it remarkable that the wisdom of the day (as a minimal description of the inspiration for the Genesis narrative) did as well as it does against the knowledge of today. It is sort of sad to me that literalists insist on cherry picking of these passages, ignoring these two developmental descriptions in light of what the very Creation speaks to us today.? These passages have been meaningful to me in that light.

Regards? -? JimA [Friend of ASA]

Jon Tandy wrote:

In the last few days I've pondered a few points about Genesis 1 and 2 that I don't recall reading about in other discussions (although I'm sure they must have been somewhere).

?

First, I was pondering the statement that the animals and Adam were created "out of the dust of the ground".? I realize that some have inferred that this statement could include evolution, as the earth itself is what produces the variety of creatures.? I think this is a tenuous conclusion when taken as a "concordist" interpretation, but it does make for an interesting rhetorical argument.? However, if this is taken as a potentially straightforward description of evolution producing man from the ground (from common, existing structures), then for consistency what would the creation of Eve be taken to mean scientifically, as being from Adam's rib?? In other words, for those who take the one statement as a scientific inference of Adam's evolution, how can they apply consistent interpretation when it comes to Eve's creation as a scientific event?

?

Second, the sun and moon were made to "divide the day from the night", with the sun to rule over the day, and the moon to rule over the night.? If this was so (according to a "literal" interpretation), then why do we see the moon come out in the daytime and disappear at night sometimes?? It seems that if this verse were to be taken literally, the moon has ceased functioning according to its created purpose, which was to rule over the night.?

?

Also, since God divided the light from the darkness in Gen 1:4, why did it need to be divided again in verse 14 by the sun and moon?? How do the sun and moon divide the light from darkness, since both of them cast light on the earth (the moon for at least?most of the month)?? The only thing I can think is that dividing the light from darkness in verse 14 means to divide the day from night (sun=day, moon=night), which goes back to my previous paragraph about why are the moon and the sun sometimes out during the day -- that is, if all this is to be taken in a strictly "literal" 20th century cosmology.? For me, this all contributes toward showing why a framework or some other interpretation is more plausible.

?

?

Jon Tandy

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Received on Tue Mar 11 20:23:22 2008

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