Re: [asa] A few literal problems in Genesis

From: Jim Armstrong <>
Date: Tue Mar 11 2008 - 22:09:55 EDT

I'm OK with this right up to the "The FIAT means..." part. I have no
problem with you assigning that meaning for yourself. My point continues
to be that another meaning is not excluded. There is no evident reason
as I see it to dismiss earth as an secondary "actionee", doing what it
was assigned/designed to do. Instead, we can look at everything about us
to see earth in an active state, not static. I see only an allergy to
the idea of God setting something in motion to bring about a desired
result. Yet, we do that every time we plant a garden.

Regards - JimA [Friend of ASA] wrote:

> 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 <>
> To: ASA <>
> 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]
> 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 <>
>> To: ASA <>
>> 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 the 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 22:10:53 2008

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