Re: [asa] The ASA and the Soft Sciences (ASA focus for the future- dreaming)

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Wed Jan 07 2009 - 16:45:54 EST

Hi Michael,

This is close to what Murray is saying!

What Murray is actually saying is that there are ways of reading Genesis which by-pass the need to debate endlessly over the connection between story and history.

And what Murray likes about the Aboriginal approach (and any approach like it) is that it allows us to just READ the text and ask "what is the Holy Spirit saying to us?"

For example: what does science have to contribute to the question of Eve being made from the rib of Adam? It seems to me that silly questions about whether Adam thereafter had one rib short seem to arise from an effort to make some historical/scientific sense of the text.

But if those concerns are put aside and one takes a purely narrative approach one is free to reflect upon the question: what is the theological meaning of this detail? I acknowledge that there isn't a hard and fast answer to that - one is actually forced to LISTEN to the Holy Spirit, to try to find resonance with the rest of Scripure and Christian Tradition - the read the text theologically if you like.

And when one does, one finds gems like the below from Matthew Henry;

That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved. Adam lost a rib, and without any diminution to his strength or comeliness (for, doubtless, the flesh was closed without a scar); but in lieu thereof he had a help meet for him, which abundantly made up his loss: what God takes away from his people he will, one way or other, restore with advantage.

What I'm advocating, ultimately, is that we don't have to keep having the same discussion about Genesis, over, and over, and over, and over, and over, but can actually approach it at a text with a story to tell that is pregnant with meaning.

My only reason for introducing the Aboriginal Dreamtime here is that it shows how, in practice, some non-western people actually approach the telling and retelling of story, how those stories give expression to significant aspects of reality, and how those stories concern one's present.

PS: yes, before anybody else points it out: I know that Matthew Henry wasn't an Australian Aboriginal - but nor was he a contemporary western secularist. And the quote above can be taken as one more example of how contemporary westerners could learn from those of a different cultural milieu.


Michael Roberts wrote:
> To me this kind of dreaming makes the time factor of Genesis irrelevant,
> as it is not see Genesis as descriptive of the world but evocative. Both
> deal with the real world.
> I can give a technical description of the bike I would buy if money was
> no object - Reynolds 853 tubing for the frame , Shimano XT gears 12-34
> block to 24, 36, 48 chainrings , brooks saddle etc.
> Or I can give an evocative description of the equally real bike. A joy
> to ride. Finely tuned and responsive. Climbs any hills.
> Both describe the same reality. What I think Murray is saying is that
> Genesis is more like the second description than the first.
> Maybe
> Michael
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Dehler, Bernie"
> <>
> To: "ASA" <>
> Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2009 4:57 PM
> Subject: RE: [asa] The ASA and the Soft Sciences (ASA focus for the
> future- dreaming)
> Hi Pastor Murray- I'm trying to understand your "dreaming" application
> to Genesis. I see lots of generalities from you, but really nothing
> specific. Just to narrow it down, and to be blunt, and to the point, let
> me focus on just one issue/question.
> At the last ASA conference, Ted Davis gave a presentation regarding how
> to teach the different views on origins... interpreting Genesis. There
> is the YEC, OEC, TE, ID, etc. views. From what I gather, you are saying
> there is a new and unique way to interpret Genesis that has never been
> before considered, called "Aboriginal Dreaming." Please answer this one
> specific question: "How does "dreaming" interpret 'day' in the Genesis
> account of creation in Gen. ch. 1: Day is 24 hr, day-age, figurative, or
> other?"
> Please give a succinct answer in 1 or 2 paragraphs (5 to 10 sentences).
> Please no essay-length response or sermon.
> I'm just trying to understand your point about the application of
> "dreaming" to the interpretation of Genesis.
> ...Bernie
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Received on Wed Jan 7 16:46:34 2009

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