Re: [asa] "Evolutionary Creation" book comments

From: Pete Enns <>
Date: Tue Sep 29 2009 - 13:42:14 EDT


This is my main criticism of John Walton, too. I think he is doing
marvelous work helping people who are struggling with the implications
of Gen 1. I will likely see him at SBL in November, and I hope to ask
him whether he intends to continue he work into Gen 2-3.

I also am not entirely convinced of his material/function distinction,
but it is certainly valuable to consider.

Pete Enns

On Sep 29, 2009, at 12:42 PM, Denis O. Lamoureux wrote:

> Dear Jim,
> It's easy for Walton to use his "it ain't about material origins,
> but functional origins" in Gen 1.
> But did you notice something? HE STOPS AT GEN 1.
> Why doesn't he use his thesis on Gen 2 and Adam?
> Ask him if he thinks Gen 2 is historical? He works at
> Wheaton College, and if he says there is no HISTORICAL
> Adam, then he's gone . . . .
> D
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jim Armstrong" <>
> To: "ASA" <>
> Sent: Monday, September 28, 2009 8:19 PM
> Subject: Re: [asa] "Evolutionary Creation" book comments
>> I think you are dead on. John Walton, OT scholar from Wheaton
>> presented a lecture for Canyon Institute for Advanced Studies in
>> Phoenix in 2006 titled, "Reading Genesis with 1 with Ancient Eyes:
>> What Does it Mean to Create?" In it, he discussed at some length
>> this matter of ancient perspective, and I believe he would agree
>> entirely with your surmise that the division implicit in those the
>> two words would be incomprehensible to those ancient eyes. Science
>> had neither defined nor differentiated itself in those days. Nor
>> did they did not think in material terms per se, instead
>> understanding everything as a part of God's presence and activity
>> in the world. Walton mentions that "miracle" is a New Testament
>> word, things that denote some departure from what nature has the
>> capacity to do in the material world. In contrast, the OT terms are
>> signs and wonders, and distinctly (he says) not about shuffling
>> material things about, again because those ancient eyes and hearts
>> (a western term) do not have a framework at all like western
>> material-based terminology and explanation. He suggested our
>> traditional way of interpreting much of Gen. 1, for example, would
>> fall on the ancient ears about as well as an explanation of
>> daylight saving time.
>> JimA [Friend of ASA]
>> Murray Hogg wrote:
>>> Hi Denis,
>>> I actually wonder if using the terms "science" and "history" in
>>> this context isn't - in the end analysis - anachronistic.
>>> I'd offer the observation that what "pre-modern" societies do is
>>> tell stories - they don't do "science", and they don't record
>>> "history". And if one can escape the need to force Genesis into
>>> either category, then the result is very liberating. One can even
>>> begin to read Genesis theologically as per the entire point of the
>>> narrative!
>>> Here I think much benefit might be gained from a familiarity with
>>> the field of ethnohistory - which discipline gives some
>>> interesting insights into the way non-Western and pre-modern
>>> societies deal with their past. It's on my list of subjects to get
>>> around to "one day."
>>> Actually, as I think about it, this might be more or less another
>>> way of putting your entreaty of "Separate, don't conflate", viz;
>>> if one can discriminate between "history", "science", and "story"
>>> -- where "story" is a way of conveying meaning (theological
>>> meaning in the case of Genesis) -- then one is, I think, well on
>>> the way to resolving the "problem" which arises in light of our
>>> modernist inability to see that there is more than one way of
>>> conveying spiritual truth.
>>> Blessings,
>>> Murray
>>> Denis O. Lamoureux wrote:
>>>> Dear Bernie,
>>>> You are a scrapper my friend!
>>>> You write:
>>>>> Ancient theological idea:
>>>>> Adam was the first human to sin.
>>>>> This statement is nothing but theology
>>>> NOT true. It's ancient science (creation
>>>> and existence of Adam) delivering an inerrant
>>>> and Holy Spirit-inspired theology (sin is
>>>> very real and humans are sinners).
>>>> Bernie: Separate, Don't Conflate!
>>>> Best,
>>>> Denis
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Received on Tue Sep 29 13:44:09 2009

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