Genesis 1


(Daniel Pech) #1

I enjoy the openness here regarding varying views on Genesis 1. That is why I am here: to discuss Genesis 1 (and Genesis 2, and a very few other passages throughout the Bible).

I started out in careful study of the Bible in the matter of its supposed material ‘contradictions’. This was by way of a comment made in the late 90’s on a homeschool website discussion forum. Specifically, the comment mentioned ‘The Skeptics Annotated Bible’ website.

I either had never before come across even the very idea of Bible contradictions, or did not recall any specific instance in which such concerns were brought abidingly to my mind. But, I had grown up with a dad whose very conversational life was centered on the Bible, and of which the ever-present undercurrent was Noah’s Flood. And this was no small education for me. So now I came upon this massive collection of supposed Bible ‘contradictions’, complete with a discussion community that was aimed at construing as many passages as logically possible as any one or more of an internal material contradiction, empirical or historical error, or other flaw.

So I immediately understood a most basic principle of truthful witness which that Atheistic website was missing. But I also assumed that simply the information constituting this principle would cause that community to reconsider its hyperskeptic tack. I even suggested to them that, from the standpoint of their atheism, it was unrealistic, and non-objective, for them to treat the Bible as if it had been authored by any kind of God that they cared to imagine for the purpose of ‘debunking’ the Bible-as-authored-by-that-God.

The real-world dynamics of humans as unique individuals in all matters is not to be discounted, I told d them. That, given a set of data in common to multiple persons, those perrsons’ abstract and sensory perceptions comprise respectively unique sets of emphases of that data. Not even a simple set of simple shapes like o<o is going to subjectively ‘strike’ all persons under all circumstances in the same way; Much less is a particular photo of a random person in the newspaper going to ‘look exactly like’ a particular known ‘so-and-so’ to every person’s respective best friend.

So we are not carbon copies of some universal ‘ideal’ or ‘normal’ person. So, I told them, it is only by artifice that two or more persons even CAN bear true witness of the same data by the exact same objective set and sequence of outputs (reports). So it would be ridiculous to initially approach the Bible according to any ‘hermeneutic of suspicion’ of material inconsistencies, as if the Bible ever was intended to be some kind of linguistically a-historical Complete Idiot’s Guide.

But that led to my deep and general concern for such things as linguistics and cognition, philosophy of language, comparative languages, and the philosophy and psychology of human learning (including development of a shared general system of intellectual expression, or ‘language’).

I also have always been a very committed ‘Young Earth’, (that is, ordinary normal day) Creationist.

Even more so, I am NOT anything like the status quo ‘Bible-faithful’ version of a Blank Slate theorist of Human Mind and Learning. By such a theorist I mean someone (anyone) who, for whatever reasons, motives, intuitions, and preferences, tends to conceive of the human ‘mind’ (you know, that thing which God designed to actually think, and learn, and stuff?) as a Blank Slate, and therefore which essentially is strictly distinct from the biological human person (ie. from the body, the kinesthetic sense, hunger, taste, neurology, blood pressure and blood sugar, inter-organ hormones, microbiome, ‘subjective’ memory, emotions, etc.). In other words, this is a person who, though having become a Christian, is less or more given to a ‘Dr. Spock’ discounting and oversimplification of the ‘non-rational’ faculties. These are persons who, by a combination of particular cultural and neurodevelopmental forces, are the more inclined than most to conceive of the ‘mind’ as some kind of ideal Platonic entity that basically functions apart from the ‘subjective’ senses, and thus from which the ‘mind’ ‘learns’ according to some supposedly equally non-material, non-biological thing called the ‘will’. The only thing lacking, then, is fundamentally important information, the right system of esteeming that information, and all this preferably provided in the form of the shared instantiation of a system of intellectual expressions (‘language’). Such persons tend to be those the most distressed when living strictly amongst, and thus generally depending upon, a people whose language they do not yet understand.

Hence, according to the initial ‘scientific facthood’ of a culture hegemonized by such ‘Platonically rational’ notions of ‘the mind’, ‘animals’ either are senseless automatons or are some kind of ‘mindless’, ‘instinct’-driven beings that have no real capacity of any kind of objective observation and estimation. Honey bees’ communication, for instance, ever is admitted to being very complex only AFTER such is established by HUMAN observation and analysis of bee behavior. We now know this about bees, but "we still retain our same (cheap and crude) notions that ‘animals’ lacking even the ability to make tools as such. Thus, for example:

Blockquote “Ants who build complex hives do not actually have any knowledge or appreciation of that complexity, but simply are blindly acting out the building process as the purely impulse-driven creatures that they are. After all, ants do not respond in the mentally and practically universally adaptive way that makes humans human. God simply programmed ants to carry out the process, but he gave humans the capacity to sense and reason. That’s why, compared to humans, ants never really do anything but keep carrying out their clearly very limited range of practical abilities and concerns. They are practically, if not actually, automatons, because their abilities and sensibilities are so limited compared to those of humans. Therefore, we safely may deem Genesis 1 to communicate only to that same Blank Slate way of conceiving of the account’s plainness. After all, is it not the single most foundational account in all of the Canon?

Yes, it is the most foundational. But as I see it, there is the problem with the Blank Slate conception as to the nature of the account’s plainness, about which I will end this post after presenting the most basic part of my model of the account.

The conception of the ‘plainness’ of the account commonly taken for granted is that of some Platonic pure ‘description’ that is little better than that of a computer program that specifies every last thing it basically means for the computer to carry out. This requires of the reader no ‘subjective’ biological sense of gravity or of kinesthesis; no sense of any biological need or of its routine satisfaction. It requires on the ‘objective’, abstracted, senses of a Platonic kind of creature. This is a creature that needs nothing from any environment, such as air, air pressure, light, or the entire, cosmically local, life-support ecology which is the completed living planet. The account this is ‘plain’ MAINLY or ONLY according to the supposed ‘objective’ power of ‘language’ to ‘describe’, and of such a creature’s ‘objective’ Blank Slate mind to understand the particular ‘pure’ descriptions provided.

This kind of ‘plainness’ discounts any and all God-given natural orientations that the human being has to his God-given everyday sense of his natural ecological-cosmological world. The account is then ever admitted to communicate at that God-given everyday human level only because, and strictly in regard to, whatever of the account that precludes a more arbitrary, and ‘transcendently theological’ Divine obscurantism and non-ecological specialism. Most of the account is normally seen to preclude this. But some ‘Young’ Earth creationists see fit to reject the normal universal ecological reading for the entire first eight verses. This leaves vs. 9-10 with no prior proper normal context. This, in turn, renders the pair of subjects of this pair of verses as either (A) atomistically related to one another, and thus the one of which is a mere surface upon which humans and animals are to stand, walk, and carry on their lives, or (B) renders the planet the analogue of a woman-shaped mannequin that a mad-scientist version of God has nevertheless determined to impregnate.

The deeper flaw in all this is that the account actually fully allows a COMPLETE physics’-first consideration of the account only by a terrestrial-first ‘main thing’. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing, and this is the most clearly seen in the very and only part of the account that specifies the luminaries.

So the account’s main thing applies as much to the first eight verses as it does to the final six verses. This is because this account is not simply of what God did, but why. It is of the First Wedding—and not as if this was a surprise to either the bride or groom:

  1. The general cosmos and its Special member, Earth;

  2. The general Earth and its Special member, its abiding maximal abundance of liquid water;

  3. The general such water and its Special dynamic, the water cycle (why the Day Two portion of the account does not report that God esteemed the work of that Day to be ‘good’);

  4. The general water cycle and its Special membership, life;

  5. General life and its Special membership; animal life;

  6. Animal life and its Special instantiation, human life;

  7. The man and his…

In other words, by the most plain everyday complete sensibilities both of our natural cosmos and of the two accounts, the 23 verse of the Special account implies that Adam ALREADY KNEW that his wife was to be made from part of himself, as opposed to from either nothing or any other material source. And any sense that these accounts are mere condensations of a larger number of events can only normally suggest that she knew all this in the same way, and personal time frame, that he did. The parathetical central portion of the Special account separates two instances of the report that God took ‘awdam’ and put ‘him’ in the garden.

There is a ton more things in the two accounts that fits this seven-fold reading perfectly. And if there is even one detail, even in the Hebrew, of either account that does not exactly fit this reading, I am unaware of that.

As we have come to have it, Genesis 1, or the Prime General Account, is to be read, not heard. In this form, it is statically complete before us, and so is more native to a completed Still Life painting than to an actual narrative. But, we must actually read it, not take it as a whole prior to reading it. It is a narrative, not a completed painting.

Of course, in many cases, speech’s chronological normality constitutes a constriction of articulation of nuance. This is because, without any ready-made terms that distinguish one nuance of a subject from another of the same subject, the chronological dimension of speech must be heavily used in order to communicate that distinction. But, even in such cases (as is being exemplified, virtually, by this post), the fact of having to so use the chronological dimension of speech shows one of speech’s most powerful factors: the author’s ability to limit the information presented to the receiver at a given time, so that the receiver is effectively commanded to engage particular information in its own globally normal terms. For, with no more information being presented by the author during an author-controlled span of time, the more sure that the receiver is to see to…

…Fully. And Most Normally. Engage. The Information. Thus far presented.


(SeanO) #2

@DanielPech Welcome to Connect! May you grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus through your time here on the forms.


(Andrew Bulin) #3

Hey @DanielPech! Thanks for your post! Please pardon me, but I’m moving this lengthy conversation to our Bible Questions sections as it seemed to be mostly about the Bible and less of a personal introduction. I want to make sure your topic gets the most visibility!

You had quite a lot to say about Genesis so I did my best to work through your post and answer in what equates to digestible sections for myself. To be honest, I failed to find a precise “question” per se, so please feel free to follow this up with a concise question that you are asking. I’m sorry but I honestly had a hard time following your thinking, so I tried my best:

I enjoy the openness here regarding varying views on Genesis 1. That is why I am here: to discuss Genesis 1 (and Genesis 2, and a very few other passages throughout the Bible). I started out in careful study of the Bible in the matter of its supposed material ‘contradictions’. This was by way of a comment made in the late 90’s on a homeschool website discussion forum. Specifically, the comment mentioned ‘The Skeptics Annotated Bible’ website.
I either had never before come across even the very idea of Bible contradictions, or did not recall any specific instance in which such concerns were brought abidingly to my mind. But, I had grown up with a dad whose very conversational life was centered on the Bible, and of which the ever-present undercurrent was Noah’s Flood. And this was no small education for me. So now I came upon this massive collection of supposed Bible ‘contradictions’, complete with a discussion community that was aimed at construing as many passages as logically possible as any one or more of an internal material contradiction, empirical or historical error, or other flaw.

Was there a specific contradiction that you had a question about or topic for the community to consider?

So I immediately understood a most basic principle of truthful witness which that Atheistic website was missing. But I also assumed that simply the information constituting this principle would cause that community to reconsider its hyperskeptic tack. I even suggested to them that, from the standpoint of their atheism, it was unrealistic, and non-objective, for them to treat the Bible as if it had been authored by any kind of God that they cared to imagine for the purpose of ‘debunking’ the Bible-as-authored-by-that-God.
The real-world dynamics of humans as unique individuals in all matters is not to be discounted, I told d them. That, given a set of data in common to multiple persons, those perrsons’ abstract and sensory perceptions comprise respectively unique sets of emphases of that data. Not even a simple set of simple shapes like o<o is going to subjectively ‘strike’ all persons under all circumstances in the same way; Much less is a particular photo of a random person in the newspaper going to ‘look exactly like’ a particular known ‘so-and-so’ to every person’s respective best friend.
So we are not carbon copies of some universal ‘ideal’ or ‘normal’ person. So, I told them, it is only by artifice that two or more persons even CAN bear true witness of the same data by the exact same objective set and sequence of outputs (reports). So it would be ridiculous to initially approach the Bible according to any ‘hermeneutic of suspicion’ of material inconsistencies, as if the Bible ever was intended to be some kind of linguistically a-historical Complete Idiot’s Guide.

I’m not sure I really follow what you are saying here, but perhaps it’s related to the aforementioned specific contradiction I asked about above. It seems like you are saying that people interpret information differently, even visual information that two people may share, like looking at the same photograph? Considering how the Bible is written from many different perspectives of the same God, each explaining with a desire of truthfully and accurately explaining their personal experience as the message God told to them, we can get several different eyewitness accounts of biblical accounts with some degrees of variation. This is discussed as a part of the validity of the Bible and why we should trust it, a topic covered heavily by RZIM and this forum. Perhaps this post is useful to you:

Your post continues…

But that led to my deep and general concern for such things as linguistics and cognition, philosophy of language, comparative languages, and the philosophy and psychology of human learning (including development of a shared general system of intellectual expression, or ‘language’).
I also have always been a very committed ‘Young Earth’, (that is, ordinary normal day) Creationist.
Even more so, I am NOT anything like the status quo ‘Bible-faithful’ version of a Blank Slate theorist of Human Mind and Learning. By such a theorist I mean someone (anyone) who, for whatever reasons, motives, intuitions, and preferences, tends to conceive of the human ‘mind’ (you know, that thing which God designed to actually think, and learn, and stuff?) as a Blank Slate, and therefore which essentially is strictly distinct from the biological human person (ie. from the body, the kinesthetic sense, hunger, taste, neurology, blood pressure and blood sugar, inter-organ hormones, microbiome, ‘subjective’ memory, emotions, etc.). In other words, this is a person who, though having become a Christian, is less or more given to a ‘Dr. Spock’ discounting and oversimplification of the ‘non-rational’ faculties. These are persons who, by a combination of particular cultural and neurodevelopmental forces, are the more inclined than most to conceive of the ‘mind’ as some kind of ideal Platonic entity that basically functions apart from the ‘subjective’ senses, and thus from which the ‘mind’ ‘learns’ according to some supposedly equally non-material, non-biological thing called the ‘will’. The only thing lacking, then, is fundamentally important information, the right system of esteeming that information, and all this preferably provided in the form of the shared instantiation of a system of intellectual expressions (‘language’). Such persons tend to be those the most distressed when living strictly amongst, and thus generally depending upon, a people whose language they do not yet understand.
Hence, according to the initial ‘scientific facthood’ of a culture hegemonized by such ‘Platonically rational’ notions of ‘the mind’, ‘animals’ either are senseless automatons or are some kind of ‘mindless’, ‘instinct’-driven beings that have no real capacity of any kind of objective observation and estimation. Honey bees’ communication, for instance, ever is admitted to being very complex only AFTER such is established by HUMAN observation and analysis of bee behavior. We now know this about bees, but "we still retain our same (cheap and crude) notions that ‘animals’ lacking even the ability to make tools as such. Thus, for example:
Blockquote “Ants who build complex hives do not actually have any knowledge or appreciation of that complexity, but simply are blindly acting out the building process as the purely impulse-driven creatures that they are. After all, ants do not respond in the mentally and practically universally adaptive way that makes humans human. God simply programmed ants to carry out the process, but he gave humans the capacity to sense and reason. That’s why, compared to humans, ants never really do anything but keep carrying out their clearly very limited range of practical abilities and concerns. They are practically, if not actually, automatons, because their abilities and sensibilities are so limited compared to those of humans.

Your are saying a lot here, but I apologize that I cannot find the point that is being made. It seems to me you are saying that animals have a presence of being in one sense, while humans have another. Humans have a deeper cognitive thought and a realization of their own existence that they can question, unlike animals? How are we relating this to Genesis 1, the 90’s website, and seeing photographs differently?

This next block of text was quite a bear for me to wrestle with. You may have to dumb some of this down for me as you use a lot of words that were hard for me to understand and did not make sense to me in how you put it altogether as to what point you were trying to make. I’ll do my best to weed my way through it as follows…

Therefore, we safely may deem Genesis 1 to communicate only to that same Blank Slate way of conceiving of the account’s plainness. After all, is it not the single most foundational account in all of the Canon?”
Yes, it is the most foundational. But as I see it, there is the problem with the Blank Slate conception as to the nature of the account’s plainness, about which I will end this post after presenting the most basic part of my model of the account.

It seems like you are saying that Genesis 1 is written in a very simplistic manner as to not afford a complete account of how all of creation could have or did happen? To that I’d agree. The Bible is simply not that kind of document. This has been covered previously in another post that you may find useful:

Your post continues as follows…

The conception of the ‘plainness’ of the account commonly taken for granted is that of some Platonic pure ‘description’ that is little better than that of a computer program that specifies every last thing it basically means for the computer to carry out.

I’m guessing you are speaking of Plato’s philosophy? I do not understand how this is helpful to the conversation or how it relates to computer programming, even as a programmer. You’ll have to explain the correlation. Sorry.

This requires of the reader no ‘subjective’ biological sense of gravity or of kinesthesis; no sense of any biological need or of its routine satisfaction. It requires on the ‘objective’, abstracted, senses of a Platonic kind of creature. This is a creature that needs nothing from any environment, such as air, air pressure, light, or the entire, cosmically local, life-support ecology which is the completed living planet. The account this is ‘plain’ MAINLY or ONLY according to the supposed ‘objective’ power of ‘language’ to ‘describe’, and of such a creature’s ‘objective’ Blank Slate mind to understand the particular ‘pure’ descriptions provided.

It seems that you are saying that the limited Genesis account does not take into an account a myriad of complexities that make up our bodies and senses. But then you completely lose me after this…

This kind of ‘plainness’ discounts any and all God-given natural orientations that the human being has to his God-given everyday sense of his natural ecological-cosmological world. The account is then ever admitted to communicate at that God-given everyday human level only because, and strictly in regard to, whatever of the account that precludes a more arbitrary, and ‘transcendently theological’ Divine obscurantism and non-ecological specialism. Most of the account is normally seen to preclude this.

A plain and direct interpretation means that God’s message and direction is lost to the organic and cosmos? So only the basic organic and cosmological explanation is available, which prevents the random, whimsical experience that is beyond the limits of normal experience fo God-related mysteries and non-organic related importance of human beings? Sorry, but I literally had to take a word-for-word dictionary approach to be able to understand what you were trying say here. Please feel free to sum it up for me if I’m way off base on what you were trying to say! :blush:

But some ‘Young’ Earth creationists see fit to reject the normal universal ecological reading for the entire first eight verses. This leaves vs. 9-10 with no prior proper normal context.

So you are saying that people that hold to the Young Earth Creation theory reject organic development of the first part of Genesis 1, which makes it hard to put the last part into context? I’m not sure how this relates to the earlier discourse, or that I understand what you mean.

This, in turn, renders the pair of subjects of this pair of verses as either (A) atomistically related to one another, and thus the one of which is a mere surface upon which humans and animals are to stand, walk, and carry on their lives, or (B) renders the planet the analogue of a woman-shaped mannequin that a mad-scientist version of God has nevertheless determined to impregnate.

How do you qualify breaking down Genesis 1 at verse 8? I’m not sure I follow or agree. I see it as the first few building the known universe and expanses (vv. 3-10), followed by filling them (vv. 11-25), followed by humans (vv. 26, 27). I’m not sure how Genesis makes the Earth shaped like a woman, or how that it’s a mannequin that God just wants to impregnate. Are you saying that the believers of Young Earth Creation theory believe God just wants to create life with females for no reason? (I apologize but that’s the best from what I can interpret from what you are saying.)

The deeper flaw in all this is that the account actually fully allows a COMPLETE physics’-first consideration of the account only by a terrestrial-first ‘main thing’. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing, and this is the most clearly seen in the very and only part of the account that specifies the luminaries.
So the account’s main thing applies as much to the first eight verses as it does to the final six verses. This is because this account is not simply of what God did, but why.

So if we take the account as just related to physics, then we just have an Earth-first focal point? I’m not sure physicists would agree with you, considering that the Earth is but a spec in the cosmos. But you also state the part of the account related to the lights in the sky, which is the main focal point as much as account of the creation of living creatures and man (vv. 24-31). I’m not sure what part is the flaw, other than the logic is hard for me to follow. Sorry.

It is of the First Wedding—and not as if this was a surprise to either the bride or groom:
The general cosmos and its Special member, Earth;
The general Earth and its Special member, its abiding maximal abundance of liquid water;
The general such water and its Special dynamic, the water cycle (why the Day Two portion of the account does not report that God esteemed the work of that Day to be ‘good’);
The general water cycle and its Special membership, life;
General life and its Special membership; animal life;
Animal life and its Special instantiation, human life;
The man and his…

This is an interesting correlation between the parts of the Genesis account that I’ve never thought of. We can also say that it’s a gradual culmination to the creation of humans.

In other words, by the most plain everyday complete sensibilities both of our natural cosmos and of the two accounts, the 23 verse of the Special account implies that Adam ALREADY KNEW that his wife was to be made from part of himself, as opposed to from either nothing or any other material source. And any sense that these accounts are mere condensations of a larger number of events can only normally suggest that she knew all this in the same way, and personal time frame, that he did. The parathetical central portion of the Special account separates two instances of the report that God took ‘awdam’ and put ‘him’ in the garden.
There is a ton more things in the two accounts that fits this seven-fold reading perfectly. And if there is even one detail, even in the Hebrew, of either account that does not exactly fit this reading, I am unaware of that.

Based on your previous logic, are you saying that woman is the Special, more elevated membership of man? (My wife is a bit of a feminist and would applaud your efforts here! :slight_smile: ) However, I do not see much evidence of this other than the logical ordering which is not proof of a hierarchy. (If we need to dig into this further, it will be a few days before I have access to my commentaries.)

As we have come to have it, Genesis 1, or the Prime General Account, is to be read, not heard. In this form, it is statically complete before us, and so is more native to a completed Still Life painting than to an actual narrative. But, we must actually read it, not take it as a whole prior to reading it. It is a narrative, not a completed painting.

I don’t understand how hearing is secondary to reading. You used a modern, hindsight analysis of the text to build your argument, but that does not diminish oral tradition. With the oral tradition of the Bible predating written history, I’m not sure I can accept this point of view. Narratives were first spoken as personal testimony before they were ever written.

Of course, in many cases, speech’s chronological normality constitutes a constriction of articulation of nuance. This is because, without any ready-made terms that distinguish one nuance of a subject from another of the same subject, the chronological dimension of speech must be heavily used in order to communicate that distinction. But, even in such cases (as is being exemplified, virtually, by this post), the fact of having to so use the chronological dimension of speech shows one of speech’s most powerful factors: the author’s ability to limit the information presented to the receiver at a given time, so that the receiver is effectively commanded to engage particular information in its own globally normal terms. For, with no more information being presented by the author during an author-controlled span of time, the more sure that the receiver is to see to…
…Fully. And Most Normally. Engage. The Information. Thus far presented

As previously mentioned, this does not make speech better than writing (if that is what your are saying). First of all, we have to remember that oral tradition predates written records. Secondly, the writing suffers from the same limitation of time as the writer can only write what he knows to say at the time of the writing. Time moves forward. We have the benefit of analysis with hindsight to develop the story further using historical and textual criticism and modern approaches in our analysis.

Sorry again if I’m missing your point!! To be honest, it would help if you summarized this down to the point you are trying to make as I’m having a really hard time following your logic. And most importantly, I cannot find the question or thesis statement, if there is one. Sorry!


(Daniel Pech) #4

Hi Andrew B!

I’m sorry. I lack most of a basic social sense in relation to what others might not know about anything. In other words, it generally is not obvious to me to expect that others might not know what I mean when I use words to communicate. So often, the more I say, the more I’m digging my attempt at communication or conversation into a hole. LOL.

(I’m very much on the autism spectrum, and have been professionally diagnosed with ‘autistic disorder’).

In my OP I said:

I also have always been a very committed ‘Young Earth’, (that is, ordinary normal day) Creationist.
Even more so, I am NOT anything like the status quo ‘Bible-faithful’ version of a Blank Slate theorist of Human Mind and Learning.

I went on with what I had assumed I have properly shown was my presenting a view with which I disagreed, and which I had ended with what I think that that view thinks about non-human animal life (animal/vegetable/mineral).

To all that you replied:

Your are saying a lot here, but I apologize that I cannot find the point that is being made. It seems to me you are saying that animals have a presence of being in one sense, while humans have another. Humans have a deeper cognitive thought and a realization of their own existence that they can question, unlike animals? How are we relating this to Genesis 1, the 90’s website, and seeing photographs differently?

I was introducing myself by a particular term, and then explaining something of what I do NOT mean by that term in reference to me. Namely that I am identified by that term, but not by the status quo population that are identified by that term. Thus, if you were a little green Martian, then I was saying something analogous to ‘Hi, I am human, but I am not that particular ‘status quo’ human. And here is something that, in concern to my topic, I think is that particular ‘status quo’ among humans…’

In other words, that whole block of text was just a continuation on my self-introduction. As a particular kind of autistic person, I do not have a normal social sense: one that is distinct from a sense of actual substantial subjects. It’s all one thing to me. And, as long as there is so much in the world of people with which I desperately disagree, I must, for my own sanity, ‘obsess’ on attempts to communicate as to why. I write, on average, for at least six hours a day, to try to articulate as to why I disagree, as to why I find so much that attacks my very sense both of my personhood and of my particular person. People have their own minds because they have minds. So, even though we cannot much communicate much with ants or even dogs, that does not prove that ants and dogs are mindless, unfeeling, and unaware. What any kind of animal is are aware of, and in what ways they are aware of it, is largely different from humans, and in many ways lesser than humans. But that does not mean they are mindless, unfeeling, and unaware. It is the height of arrogance, or of unawareness, to equate human-level thinking with thinking proper. In an earlier era in the ‘Science’-obsessed West, specifically when the Blank Slate theory of mind and learning held institutional sway, it was ‘objectively’ believed that intelligence and awareness in the human individual is dependent upon the actual and competent use of the shared instantiation of language. Thus it even was routinely presumed that the LOSS of such language, even by nerve paralysis of the mouth’s part in speech, meant that the individual had lost his basic sense of most things that humans know.

Darwin claimed that, since, according to him, humans evolved for speech and not for, say, hand signing, that hand signing is not, and never can be, true language. He was an ‘objectivity’-obsessed idiot in that regard. And the same essential ‘objectivity’ is routinely used upon Genesis 1 amongst the status quo part of the ‘Young’ Earth Creationist community. Accordingly, in that community, the account is treated far more in the way to which N. T Wright objects than those who so treat it are aware. We are humanity, not strictly either literalist or YEC. So, similar to why autism is not the most normal social sense, so many YEC’s come across exactly as that which Wright says that they do.

So I have come here to explain how those such as Wright are right in that regard. There is far more to the account than just that God created in six days, and there even, and very easily, may be vastly more to ‘why six days’ than most YEC’s love to believe as to why.

Here is an example of what I mean by the ‘objectivity’-obsession of most YEC’s:

The Bible (1) provides what essentially is a map to Eden (Genesis 2:10-14), but (2) without anywhere providing any explicit information why. Combined with Mesopotamian use of some names in this map, this two-fold fact popularly is intuited to mean that Eden essentially survived Noah’s Flood. But the particular science-sensitive Young-Earth creationists who have actively argued against this intuition typically have ignored Eden’s theologically foundational relation to the Flood, and instead adversarially and rationally merely utilize the Bible’s only most obvious data on the matter. The resulting arguments against that intuition are simplistic and proto-secularistic, and conflate Eden’s physical fate with the presupposed epistemological loss of Eden’s post-Flood geographic-theological factor. This conflation presumes upon the clear fact that the Bible does not explicitly inform as to whether the post-Flood ‘address’ corresponding to Eden’s pre-Flood location was ever providentially determined even by the several persons who survived the Flood. But the misguidedness of the seeming Eden-honoring intuition does not depend on that conflation or presupposition being correct. These theologically casual kinds of counters to this ‘pro Eden’ intuition largely subsume theological, anthropological, and other critical factors to whatever merely rational factors are readily deduced from that most obvious Biblical data—if they address these critical factors at all. Such counters therefore overlook much of what the Bible implicitly and profoundly teaches on Eden, the Flood, and the relation between the two.

So now I hope that much more of my OP is clear to you.


(Daniel Pech) #5

Hi again Andrew B!

You said:

It seems like you are saying that Genesis 1 is written in a very simplistic manner as to not afford a complete account of how all of creation could have or did happen? To that I’d agree. The Bible is simply not that kind of document.

How short-and-sweet can a text or account be that constitutes a complete basic account as to how all of creation could have or did happen? In other words, what is the best short way for such information to be communicated to normal, native terrestrial humans? And how would that best communication best begin and proceed?

Lazar Puhalo (** see ref below) claims that any account of material origins of the cosmos must at least make mention of such things as atomic elements and ‘atomic structures’; and that, since Genesis 1 does not do so, Genesis 1 is not an account that includes the material ‘creation of the universe’.

**Puhalo, Lazar (2011): ‘Theology made simple: The Meaning of The Fall of Man.l’. Youtube, Lazar Puhalo : 03:18. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xN6IB-8glw

John Walton reasons essentially along the same lines, even though Walton advises that we should not impose our modern, Space Age, cosmological and general physics concerns onto the ancients’ own accounts.

The account of Creation Week in Genesis 1:1-31 is the first and most foundational account in the Pentateuch (which, in turn, is the foundational body of accounts in the Christian canon of Holy Scripture). As such, it only makes sense to many of the Bible Faithful that this account would be a plain, grammatical, historical account, and therefore be meant by God first and mainly according to what the author intended to plainly communicate to his/His original audience. This is basically why a large proportion of the Bible Faithful espouse a Plain Six Day interpretation of the account.

That is, these Plain Six Say Creationists take this account as that for which its author intended it to be plain. That is, its author meant it to describe actual things and actual events, not merely or mainly abstract concepts. The account, of course, communicates such abstract ideas as that the origin of everything is God’s creative power, and that God loves us. But such ideas would already be inherent in the account if it is allowed to be a plain narrative. And there is much evidence required to justify the claim that all that specific narrative is just metaphor. In fact, no human, natural to an actual ecological world, is primarily and first concerned for metaphorically mental uses of the names of actual things. He first and always is concerned mainly for the actual things. Indeed, the orthodox Christian teachings even on such things as life after death, resurrection, and God, did not originate as mere metaphors by which some Ancient Atheists taught on the matters of life, death, and ethics. And, so, for those Bible Faithful who think that the Biblical Gospel of Jesus is alone the primary salvific thing in all human thought and knowledge, the Biblical foundations of that Gospel did not originate as inventions of Metaphor-obsessed atheists.

So, at least for Plain Six Say Creationists, the most naturally evident fact of Genesis 1 is that the author’s intention for this account is that of it being plain as to the things referenced. The idea of this plainness is, therefore, opposed to the idea that the author intended for the account to be mainly or purely contrary to plain. That is, its being plain is opposed to its being something more along the lines of metaphor, if not of outright bluster, intentional vagueness, or purposeful confusion. If the account were not meant by its author to be plain, then, for example, it should seriously and humbly be considered that its mention of seas and birds are not mainly, if at all, to actual seas and birds. Instead, it could be best to allow that these are mainly or purely in reference to ideas that are, in some way, merely analogous to some, most, or all things about seas and birds. Thus, when it says that God created ‘the Heaven and the Earth’ in v. 1, it could well not refer to any actual concrete things such as sky and planet. Instead, may refer, say, to an abstract concept of some kind of ‘all’, or ‘everything’.

But in a certain sense, if not in an absolute sense, ancient Hebrew lacks a single word for the idea of ‘everything’, and this lack strongly suggests quite profound, literal issues. First, this lack of a monoterm for ‘everything’ suggests that the account is indeed plain. This is because this lack suggests that Hebrew originated as a language for the plain description of actual things. Any of its terms only afterward would often be used for mere abstractions. Second, this sequence of the developmental origin of Hebrew (from the concrete to the abstract) even is how human natural language naturally develops: from the concrete to the abstract. Third, the same sequence is true in many ways for the individual human life in general, and even for human development from infancy. So, all this is why, despite that not all instances of the merismic use of the phrase ‘heaven and earth’ refer the actual things named, Hebrew is to be expected to first and primarily refer to those actual things in that phrase. In other words, even though, through wider and latter usage, the merism might statistically be used more often as an abstraction, it is to be allowed that it first and primarily is used for the concrete things named. It is then a merism that is meant to actually reference those things, instead of a merism that uses those things only for their merismic function. Indeed, it would be absurd to claim that the origin of this merism was simply a concern for the abstraction. This is because humans’ natural language is in service to humans, who are not non-ecological, non-embodied entities.

So: it would be absurd to think that, despite the very subjects named in the Creation Week account’s Hebrew merism ‘heaven and earth’, that that merism originated in Hebrew in a way that had no regard either for those actual things or for the fact that it is the relation between those things that allows their compound to serve as an individual’s intended merism in the first place.

Faulkner (2016) argues that, partly because this phrase in v. 1 is a merism, v. 1 is a kind of introduction, called an introductory encapsulation , that normally does not specify any particular action, but merely is a summary of all actions specified in the account that follows the introduction. Faulkner starts out his argument by seeming to claim that v. 1 is the normal case of this kind of introduction, but further on explicitly points out that v. 1 can well be intended by the author to both be such an introduction and to be a description of the first action of creation that God takes in the total sequence of creating the functionally Earth-focused fine-tuned cosmos. But Faulkner overlooks the possibility that the account was intended by its author to communicate even the fact of that fine-tuning. So he seems to claim that v. 1 primarily is an actionless, or normal, introductory encapsulation, and only thereby also is a description of God’s first action in the sequence. This is a dual meaning, but it is founded on introductory encapsulation ( IE ) as the verse’s primary function. This presents a certain incoherence of normativity, in that it therein poses the problem of which of these two functions is the more natural for the human being to expect. But, in order to someone independently to conclude that v. 1 is meant primarily or purely as a case of IE, they would have to either (a) already have a habit-culture of expecting the IE function (which is not an objective basis that conclusion) or (b) have already read the entire account so as even to be aware that that function even is legitimate to the account (which is insufficient to this conclusive, as a given legitimate application of X does not prove that that application is the main purpose of X.

So it would be less of a problem, if any, to allow that v. 1 serves as an IE only in a secondary capacity of a description of action. After all, the account primarily is meant for an audience (whether individual or crowd) that already believes that everything originated in a special set of actions on the part of a Living Creator. In other words, the account is not mainly, or even co-equally, meant to convince any skeptic, or anti-Bible person, that the account is true and plain. A co-equal address would be serving two mutually conflicting purposes, and so would serve both purposes poorly.

Indeed, though it is the naturally self-evident plainness of the account that serves to address both the Believer and the skeptic, that plainness cannot help but far better serve the Believer than it can serve to counter any skeptical approach. It even is logically possible that some who nevertheless continue to reject v. 1 as true can have a better understanding of that verse than have many who believe it. This is because many who grant that v. 1 is true—even many who take it as ‘plain’, historical, and such—overlook or reject its author’s actual intention as to its primary function. This seems to be the case of Faulkner, who offers his argument not simply as an alternative in the collective effort to humbly reason through all logically possible models of the verse, but as something he opines. And Faulkner does not even suggest how even an IE-inclusive dual meaning can be coherent, never mind an IE-centric kind of dual meaning.

But here is where we have our own problems in the effort to interpret the account as a plain, historical, grammatical, authorially original, account. This is because, though the account is largely plain to us today, it also contains much that is difficult to understand, both to us moderns as such and to us whose native language is not even modern Hebrew. The difficulty here is obvious: The question as to the correct, or exact, interpretation of many of the details of the account is unsettled amongst those who are committed to the idea that the account is plain, historical, grammatical, and authorially original. More importantly, if much of this account contains details difficult for us moderns to understand, then there certainly is a positive probability that most or all of us who are committed to that reading nevertheless currently misunderstand some of the details of the account. And such misunderstanding includes a probability that we partly, or, even, wholly, misunderstand some of the very details that we consider to be the most critical.

Thus, even if any reading other than the plain grammatical-historical-originalist reading is correct, this in no way means that any number of attempts at such a plain reading is purely a success. In fact, even those who deny that this reading is the proper reading admit that the account is difficult to understand.

At this point in this discussion, I presume it normally should go without saying that, if there is any text that is the most ‘capable’ on all of the most foundational measures for human Everyday Basic good, then this should be Genesis 1:1-31. But, as already explained, there is the entirely God-given everyday human reasons why the account most naturally is self-evidently plain. And there is nothing Everyday Basic to the idea that the primary semantic function of v. 1 is that for the trivially universal things such as mere matter, much less for the idea that mere matter is mainly or only exactly that:

‘In the beginning, God created mere matter, and this was so mere that it was a kind of deep that was very much like actual water.’

This is what Faulkner, and many others, opine is the best interpretation of vs. 1-2. But this interpretation is not the best conceptually or philosophically, but only the most trivially basic. It is not linguistically nor cosmological illegitimate, but simply not these verse’s roundly best semantic function. In fact, it is only because we humans naturally are able to see these verses as describing an actual terrestrial world of actual water that we are able to see that they also suggest such trivially universal things as mere matter. But this mutual suggestion between mere matter on one side, and planet earth and water on the other, is logically possible at all only because God has created a cosmos, not a bag of mutually unrelate-able whatnots.

So the fact that we can see either the life-centrally terrestrial or the trivially universal in the initial verses of Genesis 1 is not some flaw either of ourselves or of God. In other words, God did not try to discourage us from seeing only the one and not the other, as if only one is the True meaning of those verses. Nevertheless, God purposely and, in all knowledge, designed humans to have an Everyday Basic set of concerns. And this set either does not specifically include, or is not centered on, the concept of such things as mere matter, much less on the essentially Atheistic conception that matter as strictly indifferent to life.

So it bears noting, and keeping centrally in mind, that the central portion of the account not only is the only portion to specify any luminaries, but specifies them strictly in terms of their favorable function for Earth and its inhabitants. But if all this so far is true, then there is much that this account must contain, and this in combination of its explicit and implicit terms. The author of an account that is very finite in its explicit terms is in no way justly to be thought limited to only whatever meanings that the author merely and plainly spells out. No one ever really limits the meaning of their utterances to what they actually exactly utter. In fact, such limits normally are not needed in order to achieve complete basic communication of the things we wish to communicate. A most simple example is that to do with ‘how much sleep we got last week’. We do not normally, if ever, need to spell out for our human audience that, when we mean that we ‘got ten hours of sleep last week’, we do not mean that we got at least ten hours. Rather, we mean we got only ten hours of sleep (‘last week’). This is why, despite the Three Stooges, it normally never is plainly meant that, when we say we ‘got four hours of sleep last year’, we mean something utterly irrelevant about how much sleep we got last year. Curly may try to get out of work by not only meaning that he did, in fact, get some hours of sleep last year, but trying to make Moe think he is saying that he got only four hours of sleep last year. But when we are plainly talking about real, plain, normal things, we do not normally need to specify even the mere fact that we are implying something normal to the topic. There is nothing normal to our need for sleep, for water, for waking, or for not drowning, to meaning absolutely nothing more nor less than what we exactly ‘state’ in explicit terms about such things. Thus, it is absurd to think that, when a person says he needs water, he means this in any absolute unqualified sense, such as that he would not mind if you forced any random amount of water into his lungs, into his cranium, into his sinuses, under his skin, and this by any random amount of force: “You need water?! That’s what’s you said! I gave you water! So don’t blame me for the fact that you did not specify how you wanted it!”

Therefore, is only normal that information in the form of natural language is not simply what little is spelled out. In fact, there is nothing at all spelled out in the natural world about itself, yet that world is by no means either uninformative about itself or a pure chaos. Even the Sun’s regular course in our sky directly seems concerned for life on our world. And the water on that world is no pure mystery as to its relation to life. Psalm 19:5 even likens the Sun to a groom, so there must be something about the Earth that is like a woman in relation to the Sun.


(Daniel Pech) #6

Hi the third time, Andrew!

The present, much shorter, post will be the main one, of all of my posts so far. It far more clearly covers the ‘what’ and the ‘who-why’ of me than do any of the others.

According the account’s merely explicit level, it is the Status Quo of the Plain Six Day Creation Interpretation (SQI) that v. 3 is saying that light, as such, is that which is created at that point: either AFTER the terrestrial world is created, or that only mere matter and space, then light, is created UNTIL the second day), and, therefore, that v. 1 is not implying that light and the luminaries are created at that point.

In terms of the physics, we all may allow that God created light (energy) prior to creating the luminaries. But, by approaching the account as if it is no more communicative on its subject than is a computer program of anything that a simulated computing device can thereby be made to seem to know, then we reduce it to something essentially like some kind of Complete Idiot’s Guide on what God did and when. It then is reduced to communicating only by way of the spelling out of every one of its author’s critical subjects and meanings.

This leaves all of the first eight verses to explicitly tell of no actual terrestrial world, and no actual water, but merely and ‘foundationally’, of trivially cosmological physics and of the basic large-scale structure of a merely implied Earth-focused universe.

Thus, supposedly, nothing which it does not spell out up to that point is intended by the author, rendering him like a computer programmer who is treating his readers as if they were the original human computers whose task it was to carry out the programs that were given to them. So in this case, the explicit level of the account is the only dimension of the account that supposedly is allowed to inform us as to what is meant by the author at each point. This leaves no explicit information of the terrestrial world except what may be perceived of vs. 19-10 in its own explicit terms, thus leaving no prior terrestrial context to help inform what these two verses mean. And that leaves no way for the pair of subjects in v. 9 to plainly imply the thermally-binary-surface membership of the water cycle (a cycle which should begin with v. 3, and only completed (it is ‘good’) in v. 9-10.

We normally, and rightly, object even to the pale version of this ‘wooden’ hermeneutic of v. 1-18. This is why I ended my OP on the particular advantages of speech over text. I explain this momentarily.

So a text ever is a narrative only by virtue of knowing and intuiting that the text is intended as a narrative.

The SQI is so ‘wooden’ that it is committed to the presumption that that very ‘woodenness’ is authoritative, ESPECIALLY as to v. 1-18. This is what N. T. Wright objects to about the Plain Six Day Creation interpretation. But Wright seems to equate that interpretation with the SQI. This is just like the fact that those who espouse the SQI equate any non-wooden interpretation of any or all of v. 1-5 with exegetical error.


So I am here mainly to say as to (1) what particular woodenness is that to which I am most strenuously opposed, and (2) why I am opposed to it.

First,

Imagine you are responding to the ‘I am not of Robot’ thingy that, only if you respond correctly does the posting program post your comment. But, imagine, instead of this one specifying what kind of item to select from the grid of images, it does not specify any kind to select. Further, imagine that, instead of even the set of kinds from which to select being intuitive, such as a grid of images of cookies and cow pies, it is a program either that wants you to select the cow pies, or of which the images all are just of gray gravel and gray sand.

Second,

Walton rightly rejects the idea that v. 3 is about light, as such, but his reasons for rejecting it do not go nearly far enough. For, if, what the SQI says about light and the luminaries is correct, then v. 1 cannot rightly be put to the task of interpretation until after we have come to vs. 14-18. That is, v. 1 then must be interpreted retroactively, and this only after such a long and eventful portion of the narrative is encountered.

But, if this verse… of this account… of this most valuable body of text in existence… is meant as this SQI claims is meant in this regard, then vs. 1-18 constitutes the longest, and ultimately most grievous, semantic ‘pulled punch’ in sincerely informative existence. It is like shouting 'run! repeatedly for a whole minute only to end with the intended qualifier of ‘Not’!, and then claiming that this was a good way to tell your audience NOT to run.

Can anything be more obscene??! Can any interpretation of any set of semantic content be more brainwashed??!

So, now I suppose that my intended self-introduction is complete, and mostly clear:

Notice how it would have been far better for you if I had managed not to be so obscure until now.

I am a human, my little green friend, just not status quo in that regard. And I am sick with frustration against the status quo amongst my Plain Six Day Creationist fellows.

I’ve spent the past several years wanting to pull my hair out, and have written well over hundreds of thousands of words trying to make it clear why, to anyone who will care why. Genesis 1 and 2 is, by way of only slight metaphor, about a dress, the invitations, and the wedding of the first and literal marriage. This is a marriage that calls the Earth Home, in a cosmos that it calls its Territory.

Unless we are willing to say that it is of the Devil that we desire such things as human exploration of space and terraforming of other planets, then something quite a lot more is in this general and special pair of accounts than in any other set or body of accounts of any kind. Especially in that it begins with exactly the seven Hebrew words with which it begins.


(Andrew Bulin) #7

Hey @DanielPech, thanks for the replies and sharing a little bit about yourself!

Without having to deal with autism myself, I still struggle with saying a lot more than needed sometimes! To help, I try to think of it as a “mind-map” that hopefully progresses in a fairly straight line without too many complex divergent thoughts, or looking like I’m chasing an entire borough of 200 rabbits in one post! I’m also really bad about not delivering the key idea first and make people journey through a circle of thoughts to get to the point. I pray for grace as a learn to stop doing these things! :slight_smile:

Earlier you posted:

This I cannot agree with. Though I’m not a linguist, this is not true and other linguists have included signing with universal language. However, I’m not sure diving into this further is actually helpful for trying to understand the Genesis account.

My personal views on the Genesis account is probably best aligned with Old Earth theory (upholding scientific age of the Earth), as well as micro-evolution which accounts for species adaptations. I also do not believe Genesis is an absolute, exact account of everything that could have happened to the Earth, so I can accept that dinosaurs were not around the same time as humans. Similarly, I find the Genesis 1:1-2 Gap Theory plausible along this line of thinking. My opinions should more or less be the same on Walton as in the link I gave.

Generally speaking I believe the Genesis account (regardless of the theory) details:

  • God being intimately involved from the beginning
  • God intentionally designing that which was good, orderly, and perfect
  • humankind was designed at the height of all creation, set apart for a free-will relationship with God
  • with the foundation of creation and relationship set in the beginning, we have a clear plumbline to all that was corrupted after the fall

(Matt Western) #8

Hi @DanielPech, a warm welcome to the community - I also like the gentle, friendly discussions that are here. The love of Jesus Christ is evident here and it is a great place to learn more. :slight_smile:

I found your paragraph very interesting here - and I like your phrase ‘hyperskeptic tack’:

I asked a simple question of an atheist who was very intent on disproving the Bible: Why are you so against Someone that does not exist? (to explain: the atheist believes there is no God, but why do they try so hard to disprove His existence?)

In your paragraph above, you are completely correct - that the atheist forum are debunking an ‘idea of god’ which they’ve created in their own mind and then rejected.

God’s existence is evident to all of us

  • in our conscience (internally we all have a sense of right and wrong and our own failure to reach this standard),
  • and in creation (externally we observe the amazing design and precision - specifically the fine-tuning - of the universe and life itself).

But the story does not stop there, God is revealed fully in the person of Jesus Christ, who gave his life for us so that we might be brought back into a relationship with God.

To reject God, a person has to suppress (hold down, or push away) this evidence of God’s existence, and as it says in Romans 1, those people that do this start to become darkened in their mind, and debased in their behaviour.

Is that along the same line of thought as you had here?

The atheist forum you mention are probably not asking questions with a genuine desire to find the truth. According to Hebrews 11:6, it does require faith to believe in God, but certainly not a blind faith, and as the verse says we need to be earnestly searching with genuine questions - humbly wanting to know the truth.

I found this article below to be helpful with some more references to read.


(Daniel Pech) #9

@andrew.bulin

But you say (assuming I’m reading you right) that…

…you believe that, regardless of whether one holds to a view less or more like that of John Walton, Ken Ham, or Hugh Ross, the Genesis account is about:

  • God taking intimate involvement from the beginning
  • God intentionally designing that which was good, orderly, and perfect
  • humankind having been designed to constitute the height of all creation, set apart from all the rest of creation in order that humankind might have a free-will relationship with God
  • the foundation of creation, and of that relationship, having been established in the beginning so that we could see or find the plumbline to all that was corrupted after the fall.

First, I would say that the mission of philosophical Anti-theists, epitomized by such men as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, is to spread their Faith that (1) there is not one imaginable or conceivable Transcendent Supreme Person that exists, and, therefore, (2) to spread their Faith that it not only is a categorical error to believe in any such Person, but that belief in even one particular such Person both inherently and more naturally leads to human wickedness and to other errors than does either Anti-theism or naïve non-theism.

Second, I would suggest that that Anti-theist mission should be the Sole Prime Guide as to what sort of hermeneutics which Bible-faithful Christians apply to the task of determining as to all what things can be helpful for trying to understand the Genesis 1 account: all what things that the Genesis 1 account is, and is not, about.

Much is imagined to be in the account, implicitly, by any Christian persuasion: things that it does not spell out as to the senseless kind of open-mindedness. That kind of open-mindedness is easy to explain. For example, no normal person is so ‘dense’ as to fail to understand what less or more normal persons would mean, under normal conditions, by uttering, ‘I got four hours of sleep last year’.

Specifically, no normal person requires that it be spelled out that that statement, so uttered, is about the need for sleep, and for the proximate amount needed, during a year.

Yet it is semantically possible to mean that sequence of words for, say, an utterly trivial fact: meaning something merely as spelled out, no more, no less. In that way, it can be meant of four hours, and of sleep, and of a year’s duration; but not of a need of sleep, nor of how much sleep is needed in that duration.

Thus, in other words (1) 'I got x amount of sleep within y duration, but (2) this is not to say how much sleep, in total, I got in that duration, nor even whether the amount to which I am referring is that of a contiguous amount.

So I may or may not mean (i) any random bits of sleep, amounting to four hours, that I may or may not have gotten in one lump or even in one night; and (ii) I may or may not have gotten more sleep during that year.

In short, I not only would NOT be addressing any normal concerns for sleep as a particular kind of subject, I therefore WOULD be addressing ONLY what I explicitly ‘spell out’ about the subjects of ‘sleep’, and ‘me’, as if the two have no particular natural relation to one another.

Thus, we can compare this senselessly trivial meaning to saying ‘x got y within duration z’, or, ‘a cardboard box, as such, had something put into it within Zebra-Garbage-Nonsense-Beauty time frame’, in which ‘within’ is NOT meant to exhaust that particular time frame, but simply to identify what particular time frame is involved. Similarly, the statement, ‘I live on the Earth’ does not normally mean that ‘I’ exhausts ‘Earth’. It simply means that ‘Earth’ is identified as that upon which ‘I’ lives, as opposed to the contrary: ‘I do not live on the Earth’. Of course, in the case in which not even ‘I’ is taken normatively, then the statement could mean something more along the lines of ‘The Moon, as a coherent material body, is in direct material contact with the Earth, another such body’. In this, ‘The Moon’ is not mainly in such contact, but merely that one tiny percentage of the Moon’s globe-curve is in such contact (like ‘the beach ball is on the marble’).

So it is the normal subjects that are the normal contexts for the relational terms involved.

Thus the issue regarding Genesis 1 is not what the account seems simply to spell out, nor even how the subjects may well apply metaphorically to things it does not state, such as the man-made temple that God directed a people, under Moses or David, to build.

In other words, in order to be sure we have not been hasty in rejecting the normal, we have to exhaust the idea that the plain literal normal is the foundational thing of the account. Such rejection is something that those such as Ard, Wright, and Walton do, because (1) they step in line with what Anti-Theists and Bible Skeptics have been claiming and arguing all along about the origin and history of Mankind, Life, the Earth, and the Cosmos, and (2) they use that framework to conclude that they have so exhausted the account: ‘It cannot be a plain literal normal account because of xyz’, where ‘xyz’ is by no means logically, much less philosophically or metaphysically, exhaustive. I make that point in my last post in https://connect.rzim.org/t/understanding-genesis.

So here is the main problem to eliminate before concluding as Ard, Walton, and Wright conclude: what would an account of origins look like if not only

( A ) a range of basic normal God-given facts about humans is true,

but also ( B ) Genesis 1-2 is a plain literal normal account?

But the trouble even with most Plain Six-Day Creationists (excluding myself and some others) is that they do not allow any more of ( A ) than is necessary for them to think they are properly defending that Plain Six-Day reading as Authoritative. For example, they tend to presuppose that the way in which Adam and Eve had a language was by God having miraculously ‘front-loaded’ a complete basic ready-made language into their minds, since ( C ) the normal adult attains adulthood with a language all ready to go, and ( D ) that would seem, at an open-minded glance, to be in keeping with Adam and Eve having been created as adults.

No one is born thinking that the cosmos is eons old, but they do grow up keeping time by the terrestrial-Solar Day and Year. But most Plain Six-Day Creationists fail to abide the very Plain-and-Normal when it comes to maximizing on the value of Genesis 1. This is because it is just mentally easier to argue from the account as if certain simplistic, and supposedly God-honoring, presuppositions are true for the Creation Week, and for the account as an account.

And this gross simple-mindedness toward the account, on the part of so many Plain Six-Day Creationists, is why those such as Wright are of the impression that a Plain Normal Literal reading most naturally, if not necessarily, is ‘wooden’ and theologically shallow.

So, for those who, in regard to 2 Timothy 3:16-17, already are inclined to replace ‘every Scripture’ with 'the claims of secular scientists on the history and origins of Man, life, the Earth, and the cosmos, and to replace ‘work’ at the end there with ‘hermeneutic of the Bible’, the Plain Normal Literal reading is presumed to be the one that they do know to be crude and wooden. The baby is then thrown out with the bathwater, just like how so many Plain Six-Day Creationists do of the baby who is in the bathwater of the Theistic Evolutionary Christian position, and even in the bathtub of the otherwise Eons position such as that held by Hugh Ross. This is a predictable scenario, because fallen humans inherently tend to be overly simplistic and defensive, even at their best. I know I am.

So that’s all just part of my self-introduction: what I think, and why. The topic has been put (by you, I guess) into the Bible Questions forum, even though I mean it entirely as part of my self-introduction. I’m not even asking a question, nor seeking advice, in my other self-intro thread that has remained in the Welcome forum. I’m just trying to complete a picture of where I properly belong on the ‘map’ of RZIM Connect. I did not expect to be offered advice as to Spiritual Assurance, as if I needed any and was maybe hoping to get such advice.

I just wish that the title of the present topic would still be what I had meant it as I had had it: Introduction to Daniel Pech and his view of Genesis 1. I would have gotten to how that relates to my much more obviously self-introductory topic in the Welcome forum. But, since the present topic was moved to Bible Questions, and the title changed to just ‘Genesis 1’, as if it is intended by anyone to be just some Q&A on that, I was prompted to try a far more ‘personal’ second attempt at a self-intro, only to find that even that has been confused.

So that, in turn, has got me thinking about what ‘asking a question’, or even ‘presenting a topic’ can mean that I do not intend it to mean. A Pastor may tend to expect that any question asked of him, or any topic broached to him by what he presumes is a Spiritual inferior in The Word, is that of seeking his advice. I’m doing quite the opposite: trying to give him my advice. I just have to make sure he gets the point first, or at least to know where he stands on the issue-in-his-relation-to-particular-individuals. I’m very easy to misjudge, especially in person, as I have a kind of emotional-intellectual empathic savant ability that is at least as much a disability as an ability. Combined with my severe multi-channel processing deficits thereto, my capacity for language and mannerism-empathy, and my lack of a full, normal sense of past and future, I grew up a ‘sitting duck’ for many a persons presumptions of superiority in The Word over those who react as I do facially and who keeps to himself.

In such a world, I have to write just to continue to keep track of myself. It is very much like a version of Jason Bourne that, even after he remembers who he is and such, has to keep writing in order not to end up, in precipitous situations, again not knowing. I have way too much to tell even about that, and much of it would make most pastors ashamed to have ever been called ‘pastor’. Jesus knew everyone, yet never ‘played God’ toward them, despite what many people easily think from reading the Gospels. His manners never conveyed that ugly sentiment, despite what some of his words suggest to us fallen humans.


(Andrew Bulin) #10

Hey @DanielPech,

Addressing this quote in the previous post:

The point I was making in the sentence that you added bold emphasis to is that I do not see how the common, modern theories held in the Genesis account relates to sign-language. Specifically my layman’s familiarity of American Sign Language as I don’t know anything further of any others.

In addressing this quote:

I did not say that or intend to imply the words you added above my bullets. For clarity, here is a recap of exactly what I wrote:

Although I’m taking a risk at making some blanket statements here, please note that it is under the assumption of common modern theistic, Christian theories of the Genesis account specifically. Sorry for not being clearer.

My intention is to say that with the myriad of concepts that Christian’s may have on Genesis, for the most part, I think I can accept most theories that fall under those bullet points I gave as open handed opinions and questions. Differing details by another professing Christians that do not stray far beyond those points I’m assuming would be acceptable. But I try not pretend to know everything so I would be open to discuss other Christian perspectives and how I feel they would impact the church. :slight_smile:

As to moving the post, the welcome category is generally intended for brief introductions for us as a community to get to know about each other. The perspectives on Genesis 1 is a perfect Bible related discussion topic to be shared by the group! We also generally limit one-sided statements that an individual has about a topic for the benefit of opening up topics for discourse by the entire community.

Thanks for sharing your personal views, and I really did like your introduction post as well! :smiley:


(Matt Western) #11

Hi @DanielPech ,
I also want to thank you for your introduction post, and for explaining that it can be difficult to ask a question or present a topic. Do not worry, just ask the question. :slight_smile: You are very welcome and everyone belongs here.
Matt