The Dome Overhead

The Dome Overhead March 12, 2014

Hector Avalos, the biblical scholar calling for an end to biblical studies, occasionally posts over at Debunking Christianity. His latest two posts expand on a debate he had with pastor and apologist Rev. Juan Valdes. The debate was over the scientific accuracy of Genesis 1-3, and now both men are answering questions and drawing out arguments.

Avalos’ major point is that apologists do not understand the texts they’re dealing with, nor the way that scholars interpret them:

Briefly, the Achilles’ Heel of creationism is not only the lack of scientific grounding, but the deplorable lack of understanding of the Bible’s cosmology

If more modern readers of the Bible knew what biblical authors really believed about the structure of the universe, they would clearly see how unscientific Genesis 1 is.

Avalos’ first post deals with whether or not Gen. 1 depicts a world created ex nihilo or a world created out of the watery abyss. The second post considers the firmament and whether or not it represents a solid dome.

By itself, it’s not a great debate. Valdes doesn’t seem up to dealing with the hebrew, so he shifts through multiple English translations without providing a criteria for judging which is the better interpretation. Faced with linguistic arguments and historical evidence, he reaches for theology. In general, I think Avalos is probably talking past Valdes.

Still, it’s an good summation. If you’re familiar with Avalos, you know that his approach is patient and exhaustive. These posts are worth pointing to whenever someone claims to take the opening of Genesis literally. They don’t, they don’t know how, and they’d be laughed out of the room if they tried.

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