Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
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30-08-2015, 03:42 PM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
(30-08-2015 03:34 PM)morondog Wrote:  
(30-08-2015 03:15 PM)Zoebion Wrote:  Make sense?

Yeah. OK, I think I figured out what bothered me about this whole thing. It was the lack of reference to weak points. Papers I read (when I read papers, which is infrequently), most people put a special emphasis on saying where they might be wrong. OTOH you're not writing for a technical audience, might confuse the shit outta people to see a whole bunch of 'I might be wrong but', so I'll still grill you here if I wanna, but it is your blog and not a journal article.

I declare unilateral ceasefire for now.

lol that's fair. And you are absolutely right, it is a blog, not a journal article, and I am introducing this to my audience in baby steps, not wanting to assume anything about their intellect, so I am trying to make it as simple as possible right now. You and I both know how difficult it is for YECs and fundamentalists to use their brains Rolleyes

I've gotten technical in the past, quoting sources and using footnotes, and I started to lose people. So, I've opted for a different approach with this subject, which has worked well so far, with many Christians and YEC asking me questions and wanting to read more. So, it seems to be working.
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30-08-2015, 10:11 PM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
(30-08-2015 07:41 AM)Zoebion Wrote:  
(29-08-2015 09:06 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  Read your latest blog entry Zoebion.

The first question that came to mind was, does it really make any difference whether the word meant “create” of “assign meaning” when the reader still has to believe that bronze age man (the author(s) of Genesis) was contacted by a creator to explain what it had done to get things started?

Regardless of the meaning it is hard for me to worry about the nuances of a word when the overall story is completely unbelievable to me.

Maybe I’m missing something but if “all” God did was assign function and is not the creator of all things then whence did the universe come from in your view and if the god being discussed is part of and not outside time and space then he appears to be superfluous and unnecessary.

Please feel free to challenge my understanding of what you wrote.

FC

I'm not arguing that the bible doesn't teach creation ex nihilo. It teaches it elsewhere, but not in Genesis. Like the other ANE text, it teaches creation ex material. The story is ancient Israelite polemic set against the back drop of the other ANE mythologies. The sun, moon, and water were all seen as gods, and the Genesis text is "demythologizing" these elements to show that their God is the creator. As I've written elsewhere, these creation accounts were about assigning functions. The way this was done was through separating and naming, which is what we see in Genesis. We also see that "light" is called "day", not "light", and "darkness" is called "night" not darkness- all referring to the functions they serve. We also have "evening and morning" ,but the sun and moon are not "created" until day 4. This is because they are 1)already in existence, 2)it proves further that the understanding is about assigning functions 3) the phrase is a literary devise. Finally, further implications form the context that show it to be functional oriented is the term "formless and void". This is a bad translation that was set forth by the Septuagint. The phrase actually means something that does not have purpose or function.

There is much more that I will be explaining as the posts go on.

Why is this important? Because it means that Genesis is not referring to the process of how God created the material world. Thus, it has nothing to say about evolution.

What do naming things and assigning functions actually accomplish?

Actually, whatr\ does 'assigning function' even mean?

Pro tip: 'day' and 'night' are not functions.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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30-08-2015, 10:16 PM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
(30-08-2015 09:14 AM)Zoebion Wrote:  
(30-08-2015 09:03 AM)morondog Wrote:  This is unknowable, since the boy's gonna get jumped Big Grin

Tongue

Rocket is right. But it's ok. I take Krav Maga and train in Navy Seal combatives so I'm used to fighting 5 guys at once Tongue

I have a Sig Sauer P226 in .40 S&W that trumps your Krav Maga.

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30-08-2015, 10:19 PM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
(30-08-2015 02:46 PM)Zoebion Wrote:  
(30-08-2015 08:30 AM)morondog Wrote:  Oy Zoebion, link for you here: http://michaelsheiser.com/TheNakedBible/...brew-bara/. Seems like there's some disagreement over Walton's stuff.

Yeah, I read that when it first came out. Of course there are going to people who disagree. There always are, but that doesn't make Walton wrong. YECs disagree with evolutionists, but that doesn't make us wrong.

Us? You have a mouse in your pocket? The actual Theory of Evolution makes theistic evolution wrong.

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02-09-2015, 07:18 AM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
New post up for those interested. More on the Hebrew word bara (create).

http://edenstree.weebly.com/the-garden/g...re-on-bara
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02-09-2015, 09:03 AM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
Interesting points connecting bara to items which cannot be created materially, e.g. north and south.

You might also touch on the following chapters of Genesis's "myths and legends", in which it makes the claim that Jabal was the father of those who have livestock and Jubal was the originator of the peoples who use musical instruments, etc., as well as a host of such "tribe-origins" concepts in Chapter 5. I don't think even the people of the ANE would have believed that one person literally fathered "all those who play the stringed instruments or the pipe" (you touch on this with the Blacksmith's creation story in Isaiah), so it strikes me as clear allegory about the emergence of various ANE cultures, told in story form.

As you well know, you can't separate one small part out of a long passage (except under Documentary Hypothesis, but that's not related to this point) without risking losing the original meaning, so I'm also curious what you have to say about the chapters between Creation and the story of the Flood.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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02-09-2015, 12:12 PM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
(02-09-2015 09:03 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Interesting points connecting bara to items which cannot be created materially, e.g. north and south.

You might also touch on the following chapters of Genesis's "myths and legends", in which it makes the claim that Jabal was the father of those who have livestock and Jubal was the originator of the peoples who use musical instruments, etc., as well as a host of such "tribe-origins" concepts in Chapter 5. I don't think even the people of the ANE would have believed that one person literally fathered "all those who play the stringed instruments or the pipe" (you touch on this with the Blacksmith's creation story in Isaiah), so it strikes me as clear allegory about the emergence of various ANE cultures, told in story form.

As you well know, you can't separate one small part out of a long passage (except under Documentary Hypothesis, but that's not related to this point) without risking losing the original meaning, so I'm also curious what you have to say about the chapters between Creation and the story of the Flood.


Thanks Rocket.

I only have a few minutes, so I’ll just chime in about the genealogies you mentioned, and then get to the rest later.

The entire genealogy in Genesis 10 is devoted to the birth of nations. Whoever authored/redacted this part of the text used what is called eponyms to account for the origins of each people and nation. An eponym is a person after whom something is names, whether it be a discovery, place, etc., These eponyms reflect what is called an ethnographic theory- that each nation should be traced back to the ancestor who bore the nations name. That’s why we see Egypt is the father of the nation of Egypt, Canaan of Canaan, and so on and so forth.

This type of ethnographic language is not just limited to Israel or the ANE. Anthropologist have observed this phenomenon in other cultures as well, including ancient Greece (See, The Catalogue of Women, 7th-6th century BCE). This story traces the origins of the Hellenic people back to a man named Hellen.

So, you are right, these nation were not actually birthed by a forefather with the same name, so we are not dealing with genuine history here. What they are useful for is understanding how the ancient peoples understood themselves in relation to other peoples. They provide for us an idea of cultural origins, and in the case of Israel, shows their relationship to other cultures. I’ll go into more detail later on, but the first genealogy in Genesis is meant to show their strictly Jewish identity as an alternative to Babylonian identity (thus why it is similar to the Babylonian Kings list with people living a long time). The second genealogy in Genesis 10 is to provide some pomp and circumstance, or pedigree, if you will fir Israel and their Davidic kings by connecting them to familiar antiquity.
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02-09-2015, 01:49 PM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
(02-09-2015 12:12 PM)Zoebion Wrote:  So, you are right, these nation were not actually birthed by a forefather with the same name, so we are not dealing with genuine history here. What they are useful for is understanding how the ancient peoples understood themselves in relation to other peoples. They provide for us an idea of cultural origins, and in the case of Israel, shows their relationship to other cultures. I’ll go into more detail later on, but the first genealogy in Genesis is meant to show their strictly Jewish identity as an alternative to Babylonian identity (thus why it is similar to the Babylonian Kings list with people living a long time). The second genealogy in Genesis 10 is to provide some pomp and circumstance, or pedigree, if you will fir Israel and their Davidic kings by connecting them to familiar antiquity.

You are alleging factual incorrectness in the Bible?

Hmm. Do you think Christ was a real person who performed miracles as described, or do the gospels also contain factual inaccurracies?

Is there any point to accepting the Bible as anything *more* than a collection of legends which attempt to teach morality? Basically the more violent Hebrew equivalent of Aesop's fables?

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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02-09-2015, 06:30 PM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
Yes, he is alleging factual incorrectness of the Old Testament accounts, as every rational (non-fundamentalist) scholar for the last 200+ years has done.

And I think, Morondog, from what I've seen you writing in response so far that you're committing the same fallacy as the fundamentalists (in your case, by proxy through them), expecting these things to have been considered literal by their authors and the first/original audience of these stories, or expecting them to be defended on "literal or else worthless!" grounds.

When confronted by literalists, I will call such Christians "Bible idolators", because the terminology pokes them in the still-functioning parts of their brains. Actual scholars on the subject don't treat the Bible as inerrant or literal, and seek to understand the style of encoding and decoding the stories being told based on the way they were understood at the time, usually by comparative studies with other literature from the same era in nearby cultures.

Zoebion is being nice enough to give us some of that information regarding the ancient Hebrew stories in Genesis, and comparing them to their Sumerian/Chaldean/Babylonian roots. I find it fascinating.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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02-09-2015, 08:33 PM (This post was last modified: 02-09-2015 08:55 PM by Zoebion.)
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
Well, I got on here to respond, and I see that Rocket beat me to it!

It is a fallacy. It is the fallacy of composition/division, and the fallacy of black or white. With regards to the fallacy of composition/division, Morondog's questions aren't taking into consideration genre. What may be the case with one genre isn't the case with another. Furthermore, what is the way of communicating history/truth in one culture, is not the same in the other. We even see this in the bible itself. The way the writers of ANE culture communicated truth is different then the way the gospel writers and those in the first century AD composed history. We have to be careful to let the ancients speak for themselves and in their own way, and not push our modern categories or ways of writing history and expect them to follow suit. It's not right. It's not wrong. It's just different.

With regards to the fallacy of black or white, it doesn't take into consideration that there is another, and more accurate way, to look at the issue. And that is to look at the issue of inerrancy in light of the most fundamental doctrine of Christianity- the incarnation. If the incarnation/Word become flesh is the ultimate way in which God speaks, then we should expect to find consistency in the way that God has revealed Himself in Jesus, and the way in which He has revealed Himself in the bible. This style of "doctrine of scripture" was espoused by the Princeton Theologians (Charles Hodge, B.B. Warfield, A.A. Hodge), Dutch Reformed theologian Herman Bavink, and modern scholar Peter Enns. It goes something like this:

Many people somehow think that it is beneath God to communicate or accommodate Himself to the views of the time, particularly that of origins. Yet the expression of deep, ultimate truth does not escape the limits of the culture in which it is being expressed. It’s like some people expect the Bible to totally transcend its cultural setting. Yes, the Bible does tell a grandiose narrative, in which its truths are not restricted to culture, but we do a great disservice to the ancient text when we minimize the setting in which it was written, and treat them as an impediment to truth, rather than a vehicle for truth.

Rather, we should view Scripture just as we do the incarnation. In the incarnation, God, “empties Himself” and takes on the “form” of a servant. Just as Jesus was fully God, He was also fully man, and in that, He was a man of the times. In the same way, the Bible is fully inspired by God, yet it is also fully human in its expression, as well as a product of its time and culture. As a man, Jesus took on the full weakness of human nature (yet was without sin), including being subject to the scientific knowledge and teaching styles of his day. In the same way, the Godbreathed words of Scripture take on the full weakness of the ancient writing styles and ancient knowledge, yet is still able to communicate truth without deceit and falsehood. The Dutch, reformed theologian Herman Bavink says it best when he states,

“Scripture…is the working out and application of the central fact of revelation: the incarnation of the Word. The Word (logos) has become flesh (sarx), and the word has become Scripture; these two facts do not only run parallel but are most intimately connected. Christ became flesh, a servant, without form or comeliness, the most despised of human beings; he descended to the nethermost parts of the earth and became obedient even to death on the cross. So also, the word, the revelation of God, entered the world of creatureliness, the life and history of humanity, in all the human forms of dream and vision, of investigation and reflection, right down into that which is humanly weak and despised and ignoble…All this took place in order that the excellency of the power…of Scripture may be God’s and not ours.”

This is the reason Scripture looks the way it does when it uses ancient stories to express its understanding of origins- it is part of its world, the ancient world. It reflects an ancient culture and context, and this is not an obstacle to be overcome so that we may “see” God better, but rather, just as in the incarnation, it is through the full “humanness” of it that God can be clearly perceived.

This is why I do not feel threatened to see the early chapters of Genesis as a mixture of myth, legend, and tales. It is all the ancients had and was the main vehicle of communication in that world. Once we understand this, it makes perfect sense for God to communicate this way. This is also why I said what I said in my post:

"For example, we must seek to understand the words, phrases, and culture, lest we misunderstand the intent of the author and the truth he is trying to communicate. This means that the ideas and truths that are being presented are going to be mediated through genre, syntax, rhetorical devices, etc., of the ancient world and ancient language. It also means that inerrancy and authority are not greatly affected by genre and accommodation. This is because genre itself cannot be errant or inerrant, true or false, etc. It is a mode of communication. Certainly, some genres lend them selves to be interpreted with more factual detail, and others with more of a fictional bent, but ancient genre cannot be easily assimilated by our modern categories. To label them such is anachronistic. We have to thus determine the genre based on the literature itself."

I don't want to derail this thread into a discussion of inerrancy (whatever that means), because that is an entire lengthy conversation in itself, and maybe we can pick that up sometime in the future. However, I felt the need to express this, since you aren't familiar with my views on this subject. But what I have stated is it in a nutshell.

So. to agree with Rocket, I am not a fundamentalist, and no serious OT scholar of today is. Fundamentalism's approach to Scripture and their idea of inerrancy is intellectually dishonest, as well as hermeneutically dishonest, because it fails to deal with the text in its and the authors' cultural milieu.

Edited to add citation of Bavink quote: Herman Bavink, Reformed Dogmatics, vol I, pgs 434-435
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