Friday, October 14, 2011

More About Interpreting Genesis 1 & 2

As a follow-up to an earlier post, I'm linking to another article by William B. Evans on interpreting Genesis 1 & 2 found at Reformation21, the blog of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.  Since he has argued for an interpretation of those chapters that allows other views than 'six literal days' he has been accused of opening the door to all sorts of aberrant theology. 

I won't try to re-post his entire article because it isn't all that long and you can read it for yourself.  However, let me draw your attention to a distinction he draws about interpreting the creation account 'literally.'   He writes: 

As we probe the interpretive significance of this cosmology the key terms here are phenomenological and conventional. This understanding of the world is phenomenological (the way the world appears to those unencumbered by knowledge of modern science) rather than mythical, which explains why similar notions occur in a wide variety of ancient and primitive cultures. It is also conventional in that it was shared by people in that cultural context generally, and in that it was not a rigorously systematized understanding...The fact that the narrative is framed in terms of this ancient phenomenological and conventional understanding of the cosmos places some limits on how literally we can interpret at least some of the details of Genesis 1. But it is quite a leap to maintain that the recognition of this ancient cosmology somehow undermines the Evangelical and Reformed doctrine of Scripture. That the narrative in Genesis 1 is framed in terms that would be understandable to the original audience rather than in a modern scientific idiom hardly means that the text is teaching the truth of that ancient phenomenological and conventional cosmology (more about ths below).  

You can read the entire piece here.  I would encourage you to do so if, for no other reason, then you will see how A.A. Hodge and B.B. Warfield approached this topic. 

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