Genesis One 11

Genesis One 11 August 26, 2009

Walton.jpgWe are in a conversation and discussion about John Walton’s (professor at Wheaton) new book, The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate.

Proposition 11: “Functional cosmic temple” offers face-value exegesis.

In John Walton’s view, his reading of Genesis 1 as as God’s setting up the world as his temple with humans as Eikons of God is the plain reading of the text.

In Walton’s view, other readings spend too much time letting material origins shape how they read Genesis 1.

The “theological” approach, which reduces the text to God as Creation, Sabbath as central and humans as God’s Eikons, is a salvage operation. The “poetic” approach reduces the text to aesthetics, but mostly because it knows it’s not scientific and therefore needs to be approached from another angle. The “polemical” view seeks to see how this text differs from other Ancient Near Eastern texts, and this helps — except that Genesis 1 doesn’t seem to be polemical in its statements. It’s a positive description of the formation of the cosmic temple.

The “concordist” view seeks to show that this text is compatible with science. Concordism takes on a healthy view of Scripture as inspired but, out of a desire to protect God or the Bible from error, mistakenly assumes a modern, scientific world view and seeks to show how science is either wrong or how science can fit inside the narrative of Genesis 1, finding place somehow for instance for the Big Bang.

Walton says we have to interpret this text as it was written in its day and as it was understood in its day, and we are not asked to impose modern science on the text. Hence, the face-value of this text, in its ANE context, is the formation of the cosmic temple.

On Friday, we look at Walton’s response to Young Earth Creationists, folks who often give off the aroma that they alone affirm the Bible’s authority.

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