Re: Indonesian origin stories (was Re: [asa] Re: Reading Genesis theologically NOT historically)

From: IW <>
Date: Sun Nov 29 2009 - 02:56:11 EST

Hash: SHA1

Murray Hogg wrote:
> Hi Iain,
> I meant to get back to you much earlier on the below, but other things
> intervened...
> First, very happy to hear that you and yours are safe after the
> earthquakes. The entire business has fallen off the radar screen here
> and I'm left wondering how the recovery efforts are going in the worst
> hid areas?

IT continues with the usual accusations of Politicians politiking for
their own benefit! But it does seem to be going well tx...
> Is that, unlike most Westerners, the Bianumarien understood that the
> really important issues in Genesis are not historical, but theological
> and they read the text on that level.

I think you are on to something. This is one reason I think the OT is so
relevant to them. To them it is the spirit world interacting with the
real world in a way they know and understand. And whilst often times
some of their experiences can be explained away scientifically, some of
them really really cannot. I have myself experienced things that some
sceptics here would swear there must be a "rational" explanation
(ignoring that it may still be rational to assign spirit acts to
physical events) that defy 'normal' explanation.

It is also interesting (for eg) when one old papuan lady who had just
received her OT in her native language asked "where did Cain and Abels
wives come from?" Before I could answer she added, "God provided." To
them the spirit world always provides - even when the 'human' answer is
known. The how did not really matter. There were bigger issues. Our
scientific socratic minds want to know the literal how of it. Perhaps it
is not important.

I might add, and this goes back to genealogies (and their skipping)
mentioned here before, that the tribal people where I grew up maintained
a genealogy of 7 generations. They knew that in fact there had been
more but they maintained a genealogy of relevance to them. Part fact,
part story.

> Of course, they don't have to process the scientific issue as we in the
> West do - so they're at the advantage that they *can* focus on the
> theology rather than the history -

Agreed. Imagine too translating into a language words that have no
equal, indeed, no SUCH thing. How do you translate "Whiter than snow?"
when snow is unknown? Lamb of the world when you have no lambs? Bread of
life when you have no bread? The biblical ancients did not have the
science we had today and their text, focused on theology, reflects that.
  Remote papuan tribes have neither the science nor the TERMS to
describe some of what is found in the Bible. Either theology is what is
at stake and their ignorance of these matters is irrelevant, or ...
otherwise. :)

Just FYI, my father answered the above translation issues with,
"Cockatoos feather, Pig of the world ,(pigs have incredible value in
their culture and were often sacrificed), sweet potato of life.

This changed the original translation but not the theology. :)

but I still think that there would be
> some advantage for us in remembering that Scripture is always first a
> theological document albeit sometimes dressed in "historical" garb.


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Received on Sun Nov 29 02:56:45 2009

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