Commentary on Gen 1-2

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Jac3510
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Commentary on Gen 1-2

#1

Post by Jac3510 » Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:33 pm

As most of you know, I used to strongly lean toward the OEC camp. Recent studies have pulled me back in the direction of YEC, but, still only leaning, I want to be sure to consider the OEC position on the same terms that I am finding YEC so persuasive. To that end, I'd like to see something of an exegetical commentary on Gen 1-2. Mind you, I'm not interested in trying to find a reading that fits with modern science. What I am interested in is an exegetical and theological exposition of the creation account. Further, I am interested in seeing this done from the perspective of the original audience, which means no references to Scripture outside the Pentateuch (anything in the Torah is acceptable on the notion that all five books were available to the original audience).

In short, what I'm after is an exposition that brings out the theological and historical purpose of the text. Line by line, how did Moses intend the passage to be read? What was he driving at? What was his purpose? What did he intend the narrative to teach, and for what reason? What is its relationship to the rest of Genesis and why?

These are the questions that any basic exposition of any passage has to answer. It's obvious how the day-age theory fits in with science. I've seen it defended numerous times as far as validity. I'm not disputing that. What I've not had the pleasure of coming across is a coherent, self-containing exposition of the purpose and theology of the original story in its own context. I've seen that in abundance in YEC literature, so hopefully, if nothing else, this will add a bit of value to the ever ongoing debate.

So, to whomever, if anyone, decides this is a worthy undertaking, thanks much, and God bless :)

Edited for clarity to remove possibility of perceived bias where none is intended
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Commentary on Gen 1-2

#2

Post by ageofknowledge » Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:16 pm

I would recommend reading A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy by Hugh Ross.

//www.amazon.com/Matter-Days-Resolving-Cr ... 053&sr=8-8

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Re: Commentary on Gen 1-2

#3

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:11 am

I have. It does a great job doing what it was designed to do: demonstrate the relationship between modern science and Gen 1-2 interpreted according to the Day-Age model.

That's not what I'm interested in. I've seen that a million times and don't dispute it. What I'm interested in is an exegetical study of the creation that focuses and the purpose of account; what is the theology of the account, and how does each verse (and the structure of the account) contribute to it? In homiletical terms, what is the central idea of the text? The thesis?

In other words, if I were to preach the account (from a Day-Age) perspective, and if I'm not interested in reconciling the passage with modern science (after all, that certainly wasn't Moses' intentions), then what is the theological point that is to be drawn, not just from the passage as a whole, but from the progression of the text itself?

That's easy to do with the YEC model. As it stands, due to the nature of the OEC/YEC debate, I've not seen it done with the OEC model, as it has been too concerned with trying to demonstrate itself as hermeneutically valid on one side and scientifically consistent on the other. So fine. Let's accept both of those as given. What, then, is God revealing in the account? What is the theological message being expounded upon?
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Commentary on Gen 1-2

#4

Post by ageofknowledge » Wed Jul 01, 2009 11:30 am

Jac3510 wrote:I have. It does a great job doing what it was designed to do: demonstrate the relationship between modern science and Gen 1-2 interpreted according to the Day-Age model.

That's not what I'm interested in. I've seen that a million times and don't dispute it. What I'm interested in is an exegetical study of the creation that focuses and the purpose of account; what is the theology of the account, and how does each verse (and the structure of the account) contribute to it? In homiletical terms, what is the central idea of the text? The thesis?

In other words, if I were to preach the account (from a Day-Age) perspective, and if I'm not interested in reconciling the passage with modern science (after all, that certainly wasn't Moses' intentions), then what is the theological point that is to be drawn, not just from the passage as a whole, but from the progression of the text itself?

That's easy to do with the YEC model. As it stands, due to the nature of the OEC/YEC debate, I've not seen it done with the OEC model, as it has been too concerned with trying to demonstrate itself as hermeneutically valid on one side and scientifically consistent on the other. So fine. Let's accept both of those as given. What, then, is God revealing in the account? What is the theological message being expounded upon?
Are you in SoCal? If so, I recommend that you join a local RTB group where you can work through that with theologians, scientists, and researchers as well as like minded lay people that belong to those groups.

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Re: Commentary on Gen 1-2

#5

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:10 pm

In GA, actually. I'm very familiar with RTB. I used be very involved with their ministry. I just figured since the dominant position here was OEC, someone would like to walk through the passage. I could probably do it myself, and I will if necessary, but not being convinced of the position myself, it seems hardly fair to ask myself to do it as well as those who support it.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Commentary on Gen 1-2

#6

Post by Gman » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:30 pm

Jac3510 wrote:In GA, actually. I'm very familiar with RTB. I used be very involved with their ministry. I just figured since the dominant position here was OEC, someone would like to walk through the passage. I could probably do it myself, and I will if necessary, but not being convinced of the position myself, it seems hardly fair to ask myself to do it as well as those who support it.
What specifically in Gen 1-2 Jac? I use to be in the YEC camp as you may have known. I have many books from AIG and have attended their lectures at my church. I was very much involved with them until about 2003. I think what I hear most is that we take science first and then look objectively at the Bible. But could it be that this notion hasn't changed since the KJV when our science was still in it's infant stages too? As an example, the ancients would dig up fossils in their backyard and automatically attribute it to a global flood. Thus this view was ingrained into our Bible interpretations from the get go.. Now it seems that any break from this view is considered a heresy.. I know now that many in the YEC camp consider the OEC camp as heretics if not demonic.. Something I would not do to a YEC'er. Maybe I would call a YEC'er misguided, but certainly not demonic...

Just a thought...
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: Commentary on Gen 1-2

#7

Post by warhoop » Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:18 pm

Genesis 1-4: A Linguistic, Literary, And Theological Commentary by C. John Collins

I shared your sentiment Jac. I wanted to know how an ancient Hebrew read the creation account and what he took away from it. I wanted a biblical understanding of creation outside of the noise of science and debates. Mr. Collins is a respected translator and scholar and takes great pains to let the passages stand on their own two feet. Because in the end, I really do want my beliefs, wisdom, knowledge, what have you, firmly rooted in God's word, regardless of the scientific paradigm du jour.

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Re: Commentary on Gen 1-2

#8

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:48 pm

Gman,

Specifically, I'm looking for a verse-by-verse explanation of the theology of Gen. 1-2. Moses certainly didn't write the chapter to explain the relationship between theology and modern science, which, unfortunately, is how pretty much all of the OEC material I've read presents it. I don't blame them for that. They're so busy trying to explain that this could be a proper interpretation that they spend all of their time either comparing it with modern science or showing its strengths relative to YEC weaknesses. But after all is said and done, I don't know a single OEC'er who has ever walked through the Gen. narrative and done a verse by verse exposition of the theological content.

Now, as you know, I'm an exegete first and foremost. I completely understand, and greatly appreciate, the apologetic value of creationist apologetics. And certainly, I acknowledge that the Day-age interpretation of of Gen 1-2 presents a much more powerful apologetic than does the YEC interpretation. But any apologetic value the creation account has must be secondary to its theological value, particular its theological value within 15th century Judaism. That is specifically what I'm after.

As far as considering anyone demonic, I certainly don't consider OEC'ers demonic. I wouldn't even consider them misguided so much as I would caught up in a bad hermeneutical system. But demonic or heretics? No. Not at all. Certainly there are YEC'ers who have charged too much against their OEC brethren, but that obviously says nothing about the validity of the YEC position. And, for that matter, OEC'ers have just as much blood on their hands in this same regard. But all of this is precisely why I'm asking for a theological exposition of the creation account from the Day-Age perspective. I want to help put all of that behind us, or at least, move on for the time being, and consider these positions on their own merit. As it stands, I'm not seeing a position that could be stood on in the OEC camp. I'd hate to find out after all this time that the charge that they are just accommodating science is true after all.

Warhoop,

Thanks for the suggestion. He is actually on my reading list soon, but for a different reason. I'm intrigued by his literary analysis. Unfortunately, I'm not impressed by what I've read so far. He is an avid supporter of the framework hypothesis, and, unfortunately, I think he makes more of his method than he should. Collins' defense of his position in his essay "Reading Genesis 1:1-2:3a as an Act of Communication: Discourse Analysis and Literal Interpretation" (delivered at they Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Greenville, SC, during their conference on Gen. 1-2 from March 9-11, 1999, and available in the book Did God Create in Six Days (ed. Joseph Pipa and David W. Hall [White Hall, WV: Tolle Lege Press, 2005], p. 131-150)) is, I think, required reading for anyone interested in the subject of the interpretation of Genesis 1-2. I don't think, though, it will help me very much in my current search for the very simple reason that he doesn't support the Day-Age hypothesis, which is specifically what I am looking for a commentary on.

But, again, thanks for the suggestion. When I read it, I'll be sure to post my thoughts in the review forum. I am glad to know that there are other people out there aware of some of the more recent, and more scholarly, researchers. :)
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Commentary on Gen 1-2

#9

Post by warhoop » Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:15 pm

While it is true that Mr. Collins supports framework hypothesis, I don't think it's a stance necessarily incompatible with day-age. I understand the frustration, though, a purely objective commentary is most likely impossible, thus you have to choose which bias you want to study.

Also try, Biblical Case for an Old Earth, by David Snoke. Not a great read, but it contains some compelling insight.

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Re: Commentary on Gen 1-2

#10

Post by Gman » Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:48 pm

Jac3510 wrote:Gman,

Specifically, I'm looking for a verse-by-verse explanation of the theology of Gen. 1-2. Moses certainly didn't write the chapter to explain the relationship between theology and modern science, which, unfortunately, is how pretty much all of the OEC material I've read presents it. I don't blame them for that. They're so busy trying to explain that this could be a proper interpretation that they spend all of their time either comparing it with modern science or showing its strengths relative to YEC weaknesses. But after all is said and done, I don't know a single OEC'er who has ever walked through the Gen. narrative and done a verse by verse exposition of the theological content.
Jac, most of the books I have on OEC are done by Ross. Most notably "The Genesis Question" which you may or may not have read before. Others that I'm looking into are "Genesis 1-4: A Linguistic, Literary, And Theological Commentary" by C. John Collins. Another is the "Biblical Case for an Old Earth" by David Snoke. My understanding is that both of these books have a proficiency in ancient languages, theology, and exegetics. I haven't read these books but I've heard that they are excellent references for the day-age view.

http://www.amazon.com/Genesis-1-4-Lingu ... 356&sr=8-1
http://www.amazon.com/Biblical-Case-Ear ... gy_b_img_c
Jac3510 wrote:Now, as you know, I'm an exegete first and foremost. I completely understand, and greatly appreciate, the apologetic value of creationist apologetics. And certainly, I acknowledge that the Day-age interpretation of of Gen 1-2 presents a much more powerful apologetic than does the YEC interpretation. But any apologetic value the creation account has must be secondary to its theological value, particular its theological value within 15th century Judaism. That is specifically what I'm after.
Yes, I know you study theology.. Just a question, how does the day-age interpretation present a more powerful apologetic than YEC? Thanks..
Jac3510 wrote:As far as considering anyone demonic, I certainly don't consider OEC'ers demonic. I wouldn't even consider them misguided so much as I would caught up in a bad hermeneutical system. But demonic or heretics? No. Not at all. Certainly there are YEC'ers who have charged too much against their OEC brethren, but that obviously says nothing about the validity of the YEC position. And, for that matter, OEC'ers have just as much blood on their hands in this same regard. But all of this is precisely why I'm asking for a theological exposition of the creation account from the Day-Age perspective. I want to help put all of that behind us, or at least, move on for the time being, and consider these positions on their own merit. As it stands, I'm not seeing a position that could be stood on in the OEC camp. I'd hate to find out after all this time that the charge that they are just accommodating science is true after all.
That's good... I've been on other forums where the YEC'ers have called me a satanist for my OEC beliefs, most notably the ARN network. Most I've faced are not too hip on OEC. I think your concerns are valid. I believe that we are going to get judged on our works, and that includes our exegesis. So we better make sure that we are right before we start off.. We could face a stern retribution for it so we need to be precise and I think the best way to do this is to debate it...
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: Commentary on Gen 1-2

#11

Post by Gman » Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:54 pm

warhoop wrote:While it is true that Mr. Collins supports framework hypothesis, I don't think it's a stance necessarily incompatible with day-age. I understand the frustration, though, a purely objective commentary is most likely impossible, thus you have to choose which bias you want to study.

Also try, Biblical Case for an Old Earth, by David Snoke. Not a great read, but it contains some compelling insight.
Oops... I just quoted your books. Sorry there warhoop.. My bad.
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: Commentary on Gen 1-2

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Post by Gman » Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:03 pm

I've noticed that Hugh references "Creation and chaos: An exegetical and theological study of biblical cosmogony" by Bruce K Waltke many times in his books.. That could be a good read as well...
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: Commentary on Gen 1-2

#13

Post by Byblos » Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:25 pm

Jac, ever since your first post/question, I've been looking into this. At first I thought there ought to be a plethora of information on the internet; alas I found none. At least none that would really answer what you're asking for to any degree of satisfaction. Of course, that doesn't mean there aren't any, I just haven't been able to find them (Gman's book recommendations notwithstanding).

I thought I'd look into what the early Jews believed. There I found as varied an opinion as exists among Christians. Then (like the good Catholic that I am) I figured surely to find something by studying the early church fathers. To my dismay (with the possible exception of Origen) the only thing I found that remotely resembled a non-6-literal-day Genesis interpretation was with Augustine. His seminal principle [“rationis seminalis”] is fascinating but even though Augustine did not subscribe to the 6-day creation, he leaned more towards a single day rather than long periods of time. Augustine's work is sometimes attributed (erroneously so) as a precursor to theistic evolution. The following link is an excellent read. I was particularly struck by the last sentence in its conclusion: "In brief, there is no patristic support for the theory of evolution.". I know it's off topic but I mention it only because it gave me a mental pause with respect to theistic evolution.

This and This (2-part article) might also be an interesting read, not so much for its exegetical support of OEC (there is none), but more for its sound defense of scriptural interpretation with the historical/cultural context in mind.

Gman, do you have any online sources you can point me to that I have missed? (my plate and time are full right now with other books).
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Re: Commentary on Gen 1-2

#14

Post by Gman » Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:59 pm

Well old earth creationism wasn't invented yesterday, there have been many theologians that support the view which had to include some exegesis. It was even popular before Darwin made it popular... I'll put on my scuba suit and make a dive into the internet ocean to find others. I think Augustine is a great start however..
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: Commentary on Gen 1-2

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Post by Byblos » Sat Jul 04, 2009 11:42 am

Gman wrote:Well old earth creationism wasn't invented yesterday, there have been many theologians that support the view which had to include some exegesis. It was even popular before Darwin made it popular... I'll put on my scuba suit and make a dive into the internet ocean to find others. I think Augustine is a great start however..
I know it's not a new concept, that's why I was surprised not have found exegetical support for it, at least on the web. Reading whatever I did find, most of it centers around the idea that scripture is not a science book (which we all agree on) or that the Genesis creation story is allegorical (which I may have an issue with). Like you said, Augustine is definitely a great start. I have a feeling if he was privy to today's discoveries I have no doubt that he would have been a progressive creationist as well - perhaps a member of Godandscience.org :wink:, certainly an OECer though.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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