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Monday, June 30, 2008


Till natural science has advanced beyond mere opinion and conjecture, with regard to the mode in which the rocks were formed and their positions determined; there can be no ground for assuming that conclusions drawn from the successive order of the various strata, with regard to the periods of their formation, must of necessity be true. This is the more apparent, when we consider, on the one hand, that even the principal formations (the primary, transitional, stratified, and tertiary), not to mention the subdivisions of which each of these is composed, do not always occur in the order laid down in the system, but in not a few instances the order is reversed, crystalline primary rocks lying upon transitional, stratified, and tertiary formations (granite, syenite, gneiss, etc., above both Jura-limestone and chalk); and, on the other hand, that not only do the different leading formations and their various subdivisions frequently shade off into one another so imperceptibly, that no boundary line can be drawn between them and the species distinguished by oryctognosis are not sharply and clearly defined in nature, but that, instead of surrounding the entire globe, they are all met with in certain localities only, whilst whole series of intermediate links are frequently missing, the tertiary formations especially being universally admitted to be only partial.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bozarth raves on

Christianity has fought, still fights, and will continue to fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the Son of God. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.

G. Richard Bozarth, ‘The Meaning of Evolution’, American Atheist, p. 30. 20 September 1979.

If evolution provides the basis for this claim by Bozarth, then it seems surprising that the SAD insists that its compliance with materialist (nay, atheist) dogma has no deleterious effect on its mission, or, even more signficantly, on its honouring of the Creator, Christ.

Evolution undoes what really is, and what really is laud's Christ.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

History and Literature: Enuma elish and all

On other blogs run by SAD boosters, there has been some reference to John Dixon’s thesis (in a paper presented at ISCAST) that ‘literary devices’ are a (the?) sign of an account not being history. The basic silliness of this thesis has to be pointed out: all writing involves literary devices, devices consistent with the literary treatments of the day: that’s how we write! An author may as well be criticised for resorting to words!

A couple of articles in Journal of Creation deal with this: Kay M., “On literary theorists’ approach to Genesis 1”; published in two sections in Journal of Creation 21(2) and 21(3): I’ve seen the journal in the Moore library serials room, so you might drop in to read it if interested. I’ve not found it on line.

A useful connection with Kay’s discussion is made by Osborne, G.
“Historical Narrative and Truth in the Bible,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 48/4, 2005 pp. 673-88.

Because Osborne is an NT scholar (at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) I take it that he directs his thoughts to the NT in the main; nevertheless, his comments make stimulating reading if applied to OT writing; and he does mention OT historiography…so a connection may be quite valid.

“For biblical literature and other ancient texts, it is critical to isolate the characteristics of the ancient genre…” noting, inter alia, that for ancient literature “literary innovations were not valued as highly as they are today” (quoting Temper Longman’s PhD dissertation for Yale University)…”(4) we must be careful not to depend entirely on the comparative method, that is, assuming that outside parallels are the key to biblical literature; (5) we must not center only on small units and ignore the larger discourse in which they are embedded (a mistake at the heart of form criticism) [all reminiscent of the need to approach literary units in terms of the ‘macro’ genre that characterises the literary parent material.]

He mentions an ‘ethic of reading’ in which the reader is responsible “to determine to what kind of communicative act a text belongs, and to respond to this communicative act in an appropriate manner”

“Much of the time the generic type must be derived from a careful analysis of the material itself…[t]he key is the illocutionary stance of the author, as non-fiction works make certain commitments with the reader that are not relevant to the speech acts of fiction, such as tying the reader to the real world implied in the text, while fiction breaks this connection…” [so consider Enuma Elish and compare its general a-temporality and use of unreal or disconnected causality with Genesis 1 and its detailed temporality and causality that is soberly initiated in the fiat speech of the creator, who comes to us unadorned, in opposition to the pointless elaboration (and I mean ‘pointless’ from a literary point) contained in EE.]

“In fiction the author presents certain states of affairs for reflection, but the historian takes an assertive stance, making truth claims about the world in the text”

Three further criteria are offered:

“... (3) the authors and readers connected to the story provide an atmosphere of history (that is used for factual history). For instance, historical narrative will seek to ‘tell it like it is’…”

And contrary to this, “for a parable the truth lies not in the event described but in the message taught”

[Note that some critics attempt to make of Genesis 1 a parable, but it does not have a shared point of reference with the reader which a parable requires in order to do its parabolic work; for example, in the parable of the tenants we all know what tenants and vineyards are, but Jesus introduces a twist into the story to create the parable; we have no external reference for creation, so Genesis 1 could hardly be a parable. Nor does it take the everyday and introduce surprising inversions, which parables also do.]

“While biblical history is presented in narrative form, this by no means obviates its status as history. There is no theoretical reason why literary and historical interests cannot coincide, and why the stories cannot be trustworthy representations of what really happened.”

"Yet the historical-critical method [the one seemingly operating in the SAD], the product of the Enlightenment [that is, at root anti-theistic], is ill suited to do so [that is, evaluate historical literature] because it centres on the principles of analogy (the criterion is normal, everyday experiences, usually ruling out divine intervention) and correlation (all events arise from secular causes rather than being unique or supernatural in origin). Such a sceptical approach is no longer mandated in modern historiography. So the biblical historian must be open to the possibility of divine action.”

“We have already shown that the historical narratives of the Bible demand to be read as accurate history as well as theology. Hence it must be recognized that the burden of proof is not only upon the one affirming its accuracy but even more upon those doubting the texts.
All, whether our tendency is to accept or reject, must allow the data to carry us to our conclusions [that is, seeking authorial intention, in the final analysis].”

There was some good stuff on ‘reader-response’ theory, but I’ll leave that to the keen ones to head off to the Moore library, and look up the article themselves.

A final note from Pun’s book “Evolution” (which takes a ‘Bible can’t be right’ view):

“Heidel concluded his treatise with the following succinct comments: "We have a number of differences between Enuma elish and Genesis 1:1-2:3 that make all similarities shrink into utter insignificance. These exalted conceptions in the biblical account give it a depth and dignity unparalleled in any cosmogony known to us from Babylonia or Assyria". Therefore, the authenticity of Genesis is not easily dispensed with by its comparison with Near Eastern mythological writings.”

Both Dixon’s ISCAST paper and the recent blogs about Enuma elish betray a complete, and either arrogant or ignorant, lack of interaction with the literature. Dixon has failed to deal with a lot of the older discussion that would criticise his own position and that Kay cites in his paper; Lankshear and others fail to understand, interact with or even acknowledge the voluminous scholarship on Enuma Elish. It’s as though they think they’ve come up with a unique insight, when in fact they trot out long debunked tendentious ideas that no longer have real credibility.

The most fascinating part of this whole thing with Enuma Elish is that the idea of its influencing Genesis 1 came from Gunkel, if my memory serves me correctly. Gunkel’s program was to find legends in the Bible where everyone else found history. I’ve heard say that his initial plan was to carry out his program in the NT, but as he expected opposition he chose the then much less controversial OT: so it was all a bit preconceived, it would seem! Now, I don’t have a reference for that shard of memory, but if I come across it I’ll post it up.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Latest intertextual reference study proves Babylonians relied on ancient Indian texts.

For the background to this see

Dave Lankshear has written that the Babylonian Enuma Elish predates the Bible’s opening page by several hundred years and that the Jewish origin account was merely a reaction to this pagan myth. Dave writes that the “Enuma contains pages and pages of 'heavenly intrigue' and gossip and war-mongering between the various factions of Babylonian gods, but when we get down to it the creation narrative happens in roughly the same order... with some very interesting comparisons!”

Now, I have no disagreement with Dave’s thesis. I believe that his argument honours God and the Holy Spirit. His high view of Scripture will lead people to come to an understanding that the Bible is God’s direct communication to humanity and can be trusted for being a clear representation of God’s creative activity in this space-time continuum. However, I just wish Dave had completed his research a tad more exhaustively and seen that the Elish is also a reaction to another even earlier pagan cosmogony and its writer had, to borrow Dave’s phraseology, in fact “rebuked” the Gita, “turned it upside down using a similar literary device, but completely capturing it and transforming it in doing so.”

So, folks, come along for the ride and let’s see what the orthodox, theologically conservative Dave and his ‘intertextual reference’ theory can gain us from comparing Indian and ANE texts.

I’ll be quoting from first the (i) Enuma, then (ii) Srimad Bhagavatam, 2nd Canto, part 1:

1. Water, water, everywhere

Before there was anything, there was water. It was this water which held a potentiality for all that would arise.

(i) “When in the height heaven was not named,
And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name,
And the primeval Apsu, who begat them,
And chaos, Tiamut, the mother of them both
Their waters were mingled together,
And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen;
When of the gods none had been called into being,
And none bore a name, and no destinies were ordained”

(ii) ‘Thus all the universes remained thousands of eons within the water, and the Lord of living beings, entering in each of them, caused then to be fully animated.’

2. The use of the god’s body to create the cosmos

(i) Then, standing over her body it says:
"While he divided the flesh of the ... and devised a cunning plan.
He split her up like a flat fish into two halves;
One half of her he established as a covering for heaven."

(ii) ‘From the Lord’s genitals originate water, semen, generatives, rains and the procreators…The back side of the Lord is the place for all kinds of frustrations and ignorance; from his veins flow the great rivers and rivulets, and on His bones are stacked the great mountains.’

3. The similar mention of vegetative life and the cause of their growth

(i) O Asari, [Marduk] "Bestower of planting," "Founder of sowing"
"Creator of grain and plants…who caused the green herb to spring up!"

(ii) ‘Lord Brahma said: The mouth of the…[Lord] is the generating centre of the voice…His tongue is the productive centre of different foodstuffs and delicacies…His smelling powers generate…all kinds of medicinal herbs…his eyes are the generating centres of all kinds of forms…[and are like] the sun and the heavenly planets…and His sense of hearing is the generating centre of the sky…the hairs on His body are the cause of all vegetation.’

4. The heavenly objects

The Enuma has clearly borrowed and then improved upon the Indian text because the same heavenly objects are mentioned.

(i) He (Marduk) made the stations for the great gods;
The stars, their images, as the stars of the Zodiac, he fixed.
For the twelve months he fixed three stars.
He founded the station of Nibir [the planet Jupiter] to determine their bounds;
That none might err or go astray,
The Moon-god he caused to shine forth, the night he entrusted to him.
At the beginning of the month, when thou shinest upon the land,
When the Sun-god on the foundation of heaven...thee,
The ... thou shalt cause to ..., and thou shalt make his...
... unto the path of the Sun-god shalt thou cause to draw nigh,
And on the ... day thou shalt stand opposite, and the Sun-god shall...

(ii) ‘I create after the Lord’s creation by His personal effulgence, just as when the sun manifests its fire, the moon, the firmament, the influential planets and the twinkling stars are also manifest.’

5. Creatures

(i) The Enuma Elish does not detail the creatures being made at this exact point in the story but moves onto the creation of man, yet the first thing mankind does is talk about all the wonderful plants and animals their gods have made which places the creation of creatures somewhere about now — in retrospect.

(ii) ‘Beginning from me…the human beings, the birds, the beasts, as well as reptiles…trees’

6. The greatest god paid homage and his rule of the universe

(i) “Thou art most honoured of the great gods…Thy decree is unrivalled, thy command is Anu…No one among the gods shall transgress thy bounds…We have granted thee kingship over the entire universe.”

(ii) ‘The Vedic literatures are made by and are meant for the Supreme Lord, the demigods are also meant for serving the Lord as parts of the body, the different planets are also meant for the sake of the Lord, and different sacrifices are performed just to please Him.’
‘Thus when all these became assembled by force of the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this universe certainly came into being by accepting both the primary and secondary causes of creation.’

Comment: Well, not much except what’s good for the goose is also rationally acceptable for the gander: The claim that the Jews plagiarized a Babylonian cosmogonic myth because it has a few minor and logically obvious words in common surely must mean that any two culturally-diverse mythic accounts of the cosmos are also aetiologically linked for this very same reason of common objects and ideas.

However, another disturbing aspect concerning this argument is its anti-Semitic undercurrent. It’s disingenuously saying that the Jews weren’t even intellectually original but drew their cosmogonic account from someone else’s.

Furthermore, it is an odd proposition to believe that the Babylonians were capable of producing a partially accurate account of origins without any revelation from God. That is, when no witness was present, these pagans could rely on their own imagination to produce a putative semi-correct cosmogony.

There is a question that requires a response from these false teachers. Paul claims that all Scripture is inspired by His Spirit. So why would the Spirit of God depend on a polytheistic account of the universe’s origin and erroneously lead the vast majority of Christians to conclude that Genesis 1 was accurate chronology?

I would expect that the Holy Spirit has not done this. On the contrary, it is the god of this age which has led these false teachers to instruct others to look toward this pagan falsehood and worldview.

Monday, June 23, 2008

STOP PRESS: New Tablet Find in Israel Sends Evangelical World into Damage Control

A dramatic revision of the Church’s hermeneutical procedure will be in order after the weekend’s chance location of a segment of Torah. Hidden for more than two and half millennia, this find represents the oldest example of Moses’ face-to-face instruction by God at Exodus 31. The segment was discovered in the ruins adjacent to Ramat Rachel, a small kibbutz located on the perimeter of Jerusalem, literally a stone’s throw from the birthplace of the Church’s founder. The irony should not be lost on the faithful here as it is widely believed that it is the Creator himself in these very same verses who dialogues with Moses. Potentially, at least, this could put a final nail into the Creationist coffin, the only evangelical sub-group who continues to read such passages as straightforward history.

Others, however, were less downcast and expressed surprise that the Church hadn’t previously noticed the perspicuous “intertextual reference” in the hundreds of other manuscripts that had been relied on by Bible translators. When asked to explain this highly technical term, Sydney Anglican Diocese spokesman Dave Lankshear remarked that this discovery once and for all established ancient historian John Dickson’s theory that Moses had relied on a much earlier pagan and polytheist cosmogonic account. “It was quite reasonable to conclude,” Dave explained, “after a careful comparison of the Babylonian Enuma Elish and Genesis 1 drew similarities of the highest order, that the Jewish story betrayed a heavy dependence on the pagan one. For example, both mention the words ‘star’, ‘water’, ‘heavens’, ‘man’. What more proof do these people need that Genesis 1 is a reworking of the earlier Enuma. In fact – and this certainly brings to memory that fabulously funny demonstration of self-flagellation by Basil Fawlty - I would go as far as to say that this is just how Moses spanked those awful pagans’ attempt at writing their own account of origins.”

When asked which people he’s referring to, Dave smiled and graciously responded, “I am referring to these Luddites called Creationists who have wilfully ignored hard science and who are a fifth column within the Church working to destroy it and to keep people away from knowing God. My archbishop had it spot-on when he labelled them ‘hillbillies’. Let me ask you: Why would God bother to do it in 6 days? Why 6? I grant he could have, but why would he? This is the point.”

Follows is the newly discovered text of Exodus 31: 12-17 as it has been translated by scholars.

‘The LORD then gave these instructions to Moses: “Tell the people of Israel: ‘Be careful to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you from generation to generation. It is given so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy. You must keep the Sabbath day, for it is a holy day for you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; anyone who works on that day will be cut off from the community. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day must be a Sabbath day of complete rest, a holy day dedicated to the LORD. Anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death. The people of Israel must keep the Sabbath day by observing it from generation to generation. This is a covenant obligation for all time. It is a permanent sign of my covenant with the people of Israel. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he stopped working and was refreshed.’” When the LORD finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant,[c] written by the finger of God.’

So, Moshe went away to the people of Israel and said I’m going to 'spank' the Enuma Elish by re-writing God’s claims with a new emphasis. "First of all, let's get this out the way! Men and women of Israel, I want to insert some sort of 'inter-textual reference' into this commandment from our Lord referencing the Enuma Elish and therefore make it a category of writing that CANNOT be literally true. I want to rebuke it, turn it upside down by using similar literary devices, and completely capture it and transform it in doing so. After all, my fellow Semites, if the pagans can have their stories replete with literary devices and thus making these passage metaphor and symbolism, so can we.”

‘And to this all the people went, “Amen.”’

Saturday, June 21, 2008


The periods of creation, which modern geology maintains with such confidence, that not a few theologians have accepted them as undoubted and sought to bring them into harmony with the scriptural account of the creation, if not to deduce them from the Bible itself, are inferences partly from the successive strata which compose the crust of the earth, and partly from the various fossil remains of plants and animals to be found in those strata. The former are regarded as proofs of successive formation; and from the difference between the plants and animals found in a fossil state and those in existence now, the conclusion is drawn, that their creation must have preceded the present formation, which either accompanied or was closed by the advent of man. But it is not difficult to see that the former of these conclusions could only be regarded as fully established, if the process by which the different strata were formed were clearly and fully known, or if the different formations were always found lying in the same order, and could be readily distinguished from one another.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Resource Links

List of resources on Genesis 1, a kind of electronic 'reader'.

In the Beginning God by Hoeksema, a brief book on the biblical theology of Genesis 1.

Reformed articles on Creation

The Framework Hypothesis: from the Reformed site.

Creation or Evolution?

Evolution, Long Periods, or Days?

A collection of articles from Spindleworks (note, I've not linked to those articles that do not accord with the views of this blog):


Genesis 1 vs the Framework Hypothesis

The length of creation days

Another look at the Framework hypothesis.

From the Biblical Hermeneutics site:

Critical review of the Framework hypothesis

Historical review of Genesis comment.

Pipa's critique of the Framework idea

Gerhard Hasel on the Days

Text and Truth in Genesis Creation Story

A couple of articles by E J Young on the days of genesis 1




These links come by way of the excellent Biblical Studies website.

Interestingly, Young deals with the framework hypothesis back in 1963. I note that at an ISCAST talk a few years ago an Anglican minister: John Dixon, gave a talk that was completely oblivious to Young's work, and trotted out the same tired old arguments for the framework that Young deals with. One would at least expect a level of interaction with the literature in a putatively scholarly paper! But no. Not in Sydney!

Also refer to a paper by McCabe in the Detriot Baptist Seminary Jrnl on the days of Genesis 1.

McCabe has published a couple of long articles on the framework hypothesis that are also worth a read, but not yet published on the DBS website.

The six days of creation
from Banner of Truth

In the beginning God from Banner of Truth

On the days of Creation
from the Banner of Truth (Framework view discussed)

Genesis: literal or literary (Banner of Truth)

The significance of creation
(Banner of Truth)

Review of a 6 Day Creation conference
(Banner of Truth)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Cavalcade of Comment on the Days

Below a list of quotes on the length of the 'days' in Genesis 1.

Its from a creation forum on 'Christian forums.'

People often claim that Genesis does not argue in favor of a literal, historical view of the days of creation. I will quote below some of the theologians and experts who disagree based from my own research. Feel free to reuse these quotes when the question pops up again.

Martin Luther: (as cited in Plass, E.M., What Martin Luther Says, a Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active Christian)
The Days of Creation were ordinary days in length. We must understand that these days were actual days (veros dies), contrary to the opinion of the Holy Fathers. Whenever we observe that the opinions of the Fathers disagree with Scripture, we reverently bear with them and acknowledge them to be our elders. Nevertheless, we do not depart from the authority of Scripture for their sake.

Elsewhere Luther wrote:
When Moses writes that God created Heaven and Earth and whatever is in them in six days, then let this period continue to have been six days, and do not venture to devise any comment according to which six days were one day. But, if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are. For you are to deal with Scripture in such a way that you bear in mind that God Himself says what is written. But since God is speaking, it is not fitting for you wantonly to turn His Word in the direction you wish to go.

John Calvin: (McNeil, J.T. (ed.), Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion 1, p. 160-161, 182)
albeit the duration of the world, now declining to its ultimate end, has not yet attained six thousand years … God’s work was completed not in a moment but in six days.

Charles Spurgeon: (The Sword and the Trowel, p. 197)
We are invited, brethren, most earnestly to go away from the old-fashioned belief of our forefathers because of the supposed discoveries of science. What is science? The method by which man tries to conceal his ignorance. It should not be so, but so it is. You are not to be dogmatical in theology, my brethren, it is wicked; but for scientific men it is the correct thing. You are never to assert anything very strongly; but scientists may boldly assert what they cannot prove, and may demand a faith far more credulous than any we possess. Forsooth, you and I are to take our Bibles and shape and mould our belief according to the ever-shifting teachings of so-called scientific men. What folly is this! Why, the march of science, falsely so called, through the world may be traced by exploded fallacies and abandoned theories. Former explorers once adored are now ridiculed; the continual wreckings of false hypotheses is a matter of universal notoriety. You may tell where the learned have encamped by the debris left behind of suppositions and theories as plentiful as broken bottles.

Gleason Archer, not creationist: (A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, p. 196)
From a superficial reading of Genesis 1, the impression would seem to be that the entire creative process took place in six twenty-four-hour days

James Barr, neo-orthodox non-creationist: (personal communications)
so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Gen. 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s Flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark.

Marcus Dods, liberal theologian: (Expositor’s Bible, p. 4)
if, for example, the word “day” in these chapters does not mean a period of twenty-four hours, the interpretation of Scripture is hopeless.

Andrew Steinmann: (Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 45(4) )
Having an evening and a morning amounts to having one full day. Hence the following equation is what Gen 1:5 expresses: Evening + morning = one day.

Therefore, by using a most unusual grammatical construction, Genesis 1
is defining what a day is. This is especially needed in this verse, since “day”
is used in two senses in this one verse. Its first occurrence means the time
during a daily cycle that is illuminated by daylight (as opposed to “night”).
. . .

It would appear as if the text is very carefully crafted so that an alert
reader cannot read it as “the first day.” Instead, by omission of the article it must be read as “one day,” thereby defining a day as something akin to a
twenty-four hour solar period with light and darkness and transitions between day and night, even though there is no sun until the fourth day. This would then explain the lack of articles on the second through fifth days. Another evening and morning constituted “a” (not “the”) second day. Another evening and morning made a third day, and so forth. On the sixth day, the article finally appears. But even here the grammar is strange, since there is no article on µwy, as would be expected. This would indicate that the sixth day was a regular solar day, but that it was also the culminating day of creation. Likewise, the seventh day is referred to as y[ybvh µwy (Gen 2:3), with lack of an article on µwy. This, also, the author is implying, was a regular solar day. Yet it was a special day, because God had finished his work of creation.

Lewis Berkhof: (Systematic Theology, p. 154)
In its primary meaning the word yom denotes a natural day; and it is a good rule in exegesis not to depart from the primary meaning of a word, unless this is required by the context.

Robert Dabney: (Systematic Theology, p. 255)
The sacred writer seems to shut us up to the literal interpretation by describing the days as comprised of its natural parts, morning and evening.

And again: (Lectures on Systematic Theology, p. 254-255)
The narrative seems historical, and not symbolical; and hence the strong initial presumption is, that all its parts are to be taken in their obvious sense. . . .The natural day is [the] literal and primary meaning. Now, it is apprehended that in construing any document, while we are ready to adopt, at the demand of the context, the derived or tropical meaning, we revert to the ordinary one, when no such demand exists in the context.

Gerhard Hasel: (Origins, 21(1) )
This triple interlocking connection of singular usage, joined by a numeral, and the temporal definition of 'evening and morning,' keeps the creation 'day' the same throughout the creation account. It also reveals
that time is conceived as linear and events occur within it successively. To depart from the numerical, consecutive linkage and the 'evening and morning' boundaries in ushc direct language would mean to take extreme liberty with the plain and direct meaning of the Hebrew language.

Edward J. Young: (Studies in Genesis One, p. 100)
If Moses had intended to teach a non-chronological view of the days, it is indeed strange that he went out of his way, as it were, to emphasize chronology and sequence. . . .It is questionable whether serious
exegesis of Genesis One would it itself lead anyone to adopt a non-chronological view of the days for the simple reason that everything in the text militates against it.

And elsewhere (p. 58)
Man is to 'remember' the Sabbath day, for God has instituted it.... The human week derives validity and significance from the creative week. The fourth commandment constitutes a decisive argument against any non-chronological scheme of the six days of Genesis One.

Derek Kidner: (Genesis, p. 54-55)
The march of the days is too majestic a process to carry no implication of ordered sequence; it also seems over-subtle to adopt a view of the passage which discounts one of the primary impressions it makes on the ordinary reader.

Wayne Grudem: (Systematic Theology, p. 303)
The implication of chronological sequence in the narrative is almost inescapable.

Gary North: (The Dominion Covenant, p. 13)
How any serious scholar can read such a story into the plain words of Genesis 1 is baffling. Why should we tamper with the plain teaching of the Bible in this fashion? Are we naive enough to believe that if Christians. . . [compromise with evolution], modern evolutionists . . . are going to think Christianity might just be plausible after all? Are we trying to buy a little academic respectability by means of this sort of exegesis? Modern science holds that the earth is a relatively late development, possibly only five billion years old, in a universe at least ten billion years old. What good do we think we will accomplish by ignoring the words of Genesis 1 . . .? If we are inevitably going to be looked at as fools for holding to biblical revelation, which is unquestionably the case (I Cor. 1:19-21), then why not at least be consistent, straightforward, more offensive fools—fools thoroughly committed to this foolish revelational faith, fools untarnished by the pseudo-wisdom of the world? Would anyone have bothered to invent . . . [compromises] had he not been confronted with some version of evolution, which he then decided to conform to, at least partially, in order not to appear unrespectable?[ref] Let us side with biblical language and cease our pathetic, unrealizable quest for academic respectability within the world of secular humanistic scholarship.

Victor Hamilton, liberal: (Genesis, Vol. 1, p. 54)
Whoever wrote Gen. 1 believed he was talking about literal days.

Robert Reymond: (A New Systematic Theology For the Christian Faith, p. 392)
I can discern no reason, either from Scripture or from the human sciences, for departing from the view that the days of Genesis were ordinary twenty-four-hour days.

Elsewhere (p. 396):
. . .there is no reason to believe that the universe and the earth in particular are billions of years old either . . .the geological upheaval at the time of the Flood (see Gen. 7:11; 2 Pet. 3:6) could also account for much of the geologist's "evidence" for an ancient earth which is exhibited in his "geological column" (which actually exists as such only in geology textbooks and nowhere in the actual earth record itself). Moreover, the various scientific methods (e.g. carbon-14 dating, potassium-argon dating, thermoluminescent dating) employed for fossil and pottery dating are suspect, being imprecise and contradictory in their findings. . . .But the tendency of Scripture . . . .seems to be toward a relative young earth and a relative short history of man to date.

H. Gunkel, liberal: (Cited in Hasel, Origins, 21(1) )
The 'days' of Genesis are of course days and nothing else.

G von Rad, liberal: (Genesis 1-11, p. 65)
The seven days are unquestionably to be understood as actual days and as unique, unrepeatable lapses of time in the world.

I could marshal more, but this seems sufficient. :)

Also, you could check out:

The "Days" of Genesis 1, by Hasel

by William H. Shea

Thursday, June 12, 2008


There is no allusion in Ge 2:2-3 to the Sabbath of the Israelites; and the week of seven days is older than the Sabbath of the Jewish covenant. Natural research, again, will never explain the origin of the universe, or even of the earth; for the creation lies beyond the limits of the territory within its reach. By all modest naturalists, therefore, it is assumed that the origin of matter, or of the original material of the world, was due to an act of divine creation. But there is no firm ground for the conclusion which they draw, on the basis of this assumption, with regard to the formation or development of the world from its first chaotic condition into a fit abode for man. All the theories which have been adopted, from Descartes to the present day, are not the simple and well-established inductions of natural science founded upon careful observation, but combinations of partial discoveries empirically made, with speculative ideas of very questionable worth.


In a recentish Quadrant magazine (Nov 2007 10-14) an article appeared that discussed the problematic notion of species as it applied to the control of dingoes in Victoria (in Australia). The authors (a pair of dingo experts Coman and Jones), made a number of observations which are interesting as coming from working scientists dealing with practical problems.

They are also somewhat apropro of Gordon Chengs remarks of ages ago on Locke (more reading required Gordon).


It is ironical that, beginning with John Locke, the empiricist attempt to make philosophy more "scientific" should have produced the exact opposite effect. Today, modern philosophy appears to be wandering around in the foetid swamps of subjectivity, while science marches on with its confident claims to objectivity, seemingly oblivious to all epistemological problems....Science itself employs concepts which are not at all self-evidently true although they may appear to be so at a superficial level. In the biological sciences, one of the best examples concerns the concept of the species. This of course is merely one small part of a much larger porblem which has occupied the minds of philosophers since the time of Plato--realism verses nominalism. Is the species a 'natural kind' or merely a mental abstraction invented by the human mind to group similar-looking things together?

[And a species, according to Ernest Mayr], consists of populations of organisms that can reproduce with one another and that are reproductively isolated from other such populations. ... There are other ways of defining mammalian species but the concept of shared reproduction is the most widely held and is, perhaps, the least subjective. Besides, it has a long history. In the biblical account of Noah's Ark each species was saved by taking in a reproductive pair.

[end quote.

Now, of course, they mistake species for kind, because Noah preserved 'kinds' not 'species' as we might know them today, even though there may be some definitional overlap between the concepts at an operational level.

What is interesting is that the idea of species, and an idea it is, not a 'fact' produces no end of areas of confusion when it comes to the article the "Loaded Dog" from which the quote is taken. It is not a simple idea, and Mayr's definition is itself problematical. Populations whose individuals might reproduce with each other, but are as populations reproductively separate, are regarded as species (e.g. Lions and Tigers), even though they may represent one Genesian kind, or even be genetially identical, but reproductively isolated. Now if species is so problematic in the here and now, we cannot be glib, I think in any discussion about species identified from fossils.

The certainty that is applied to the concept by lay boosters for evolution may not always be shared by practitioners in specialist fields.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Episcopalian Bishop of South Sydney, Rob Forsyth, Found Loitering in the Shadow of Jean Rousseau

In his October 2006 presentation to devotees of ISCAST, reported in blogs and comments on this blogspot, Episcopalian Bishop of South Sydney - Rob Forsyth, disclosed his reservation about miracles including the creation event and Israel's crossing of the Red Sea.

Bishop Forsyth brings to mind Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) who was born in a Protestant home, converted to Roman Catholicism, then finally renounced Christianity completely. Rousseau became a "free-thinker" amongst the intellectual set in Paris. During his period of attachment to the Church, Rousseau was a Deist - he categorically denied all biblical miracles and saw God as an absentee landlord. In this he identified with Aristotle and Rene Descartes.

Rousseau's Social Contract, published in 1762, put forward a radical and secular theory of government based on general will of the people rather than on laws appointed by God. This work paved the way for the French Revolution and set the stage for secular humanism which requires the theory of evolution to maintain the belief that there never has been and never will be any divine intervention in the world.

Atheism is not a condition like the common cold which develops overnight. With Atheism there is an accumulation of thoughts and departures from conventional thought. With hindsight, Atheists can describe a clear path pursued to reach the end point.

Bishop Rob Forsyth has divulged, by certain admissions, that he is placed somewhere on a similar path to Jean Rousseau. This is a very dangerous path to be on. Bishop Forsyth should know that, with the thinking he cultivates, Atheism will never be far from his door.


Monday, June 2, 2008

A belated Happy 60th, Israel (part 2)

The following quotes are taken from The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam by Bat Ye’or.

1. The most degrading tasks fell to the dhimmis. In Yemen an edict of 1806, which remained in application until they left for Israel in 1950, obliged the Jews to carry away dead animals and clean the public latrines, even on Saturdays. In Yemen and Morocco the dhimmis were obliged to extract the brains and salt the decapitated heads of the sultan’s enemies, which they then exposed upon the walls of the town.

2. Dhimmis were not permitted to group together to talk in the street. They had to walk with their eyes lowered and pass to the left of the Muslims, who were encouraged to push them aside. In Yemen it was an offence to screw up one’s eyes on seeing a Muslim naked. When standing in front of a Muslim, a dhimmi had to speak in a lowered voice and only when authorised to do so. Until the middle of the nineteenth century the Jews were ill-treated and humiliated in the streets of Jerusalem, Hebron, Tiberias and Safed.

3. In Persia, Yemen, and North Africa, until the nineteenth century the Jews were not allowed to enter certain streets of a town. They lived in separate quarters, where they were locked in at sunset, a practice that continued in Yemen until their emigration to Israel in 1949-50.

4. From the nineteenth century into the twentieth, a continuous stream of more than two million Muslim colonists from the Crimea and the Balkans were settled in Anatolia, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine by the Ottoman government, hoping thereby to counter the dhimmis’ indigenous national aspirations by a massive Islamic colonisation.

5. In 1878 an Ottoman law granted lands in Palestine to the Muslim colonists, with a twelve-year exemption from taxes and military service. In the Carmel region, Galilee and the Plain of Sharon and Caesarea, lands were distributed to the Muslim Slavs from Bosnia and Herzogovnia; Georgians were settled around Kuneitra on the Golan Heights and Moroccans in lower Galilee. In Transjordon and Galilee, Turkmenians and Circassians, driven out by the Russian conquest of the Crimea, the Caucasus, and Turkestan, were added to tribes who had preceded them in the eighteenth century and had settled at Abu Ghosh near Jerusalem. About eighteen thousand Egyptian fellahs immigrated to Jaffa, Gaza and Jericho in the 1830s; Algerians who had gone into exile with Abd al-Qadir settled in Galilee, the Golan Heights and Jerusalem.

6. Article 12 of the Agreement of 6 May 1970, signed by all the organisations belonging to the PLO, proposed a similar policy (confirmed in Damascus, June 1980): Therefore the aim of the Palestinian revolution is to liquidate this entity [Israel] in all its aspects, political, military, social, trade unions and cultural, and to liberate Palestine completely.

7. The land of Palestine will utterly spew out all that is on it, with the exception of the sons of Palestine, and none will remain except the Arabs, so that they may rebuild the glory of their homeland and cleanse it from the traces of the Jews, and it shall remain a land of the Arabs for the Arabs.” (Muhammad Husayn Sha’ban, Ben Gurion…the Liar, Government Publishing House, Cairo, 1963.)

8. Stripped of all their possessions, most of the Jews were obliged, mainly by unofficial means of coercion, to leave Arab countries. Only 20,000 remain in 1984 of a population of nearly one million – approximately 5,000 in Syria, where they are still held as hostages. In this way the ancient pre-Islamic Jewish communities, accused of rebelling against the Arab dhimma, have disappeared almost completely from the Middle East and North Africa.

9. [Nasser state] To the disaster of Palestine there is no parallel in human history [and t]he mention of Palestine is sufficient to remind every Arab – indeed, every free man – of the greatest international crime that has been committed in the entire history of mankind.

10. [Abdallah al-Tall wrote] The goal of the criminal State of Israel is that the Arabs should move to the Arabian Peninsula, their first homeland 2,000 years ago. [This implicitly recognising Arab expansionism, which in fact began in the seventh century.]

11. [Abd al-Rahman al-Bazzaz, professor of law at the University of Baghdad and a former Prime Minister of Iraq, said] The existence of Israel nullifies the unity of our homeland, the unity of our nation and the unity of our civilization, which embraces the whole of this on region. Moreover, the existence of Israel is a flagrant challenge to our philosophy of life and the ideals for which we live, and a total barrier against the values and aims to which we aspire in the world.

12. [Ahmad Shukeiry, head of the PLO before the Six-Day War, stated at the UN in 1961] Zionism was nastier than Fascism, uglier than Nazism, more hateful than imperialism, more dangerous than colonialism. Zionism was a combination of all these evils. Its motive power was aggression and expansion.

13. And they celebrated the festival [of Tabernacles] with great rejoicing. And throughout the whole festival, day and night, men and women spoke only of the subject of Eretz Israel. And all the Jews who were in Sana’a and all the Jews of Yemen agreed together to sell all their houses and all their goods in order to use the money to journey to their country. And almost all of them neither slumbered nor slept at night, out of the longing and desire and the burning enthusiasm of their love for Eretz Israel. And so strongly did this love break out in their heart, that they cast away all their money, selling all their houses and possessions at an eighth of the value, in order to find money for the expenses of the journey by land and by sea. [The Exodus from Yemen 1881-1910]

14. The National Socialist Party has inscribed on its flag “the extermination of World Jewry.” Our party sympathises with the fight of the Arabs, especially the Arabs of Palestine, against the foreign Jew. Today, on this memorial day of the Balfour Declaration, I send my greetings and wishes for success in your fight. (Telegram from Heinrich Himmler to Haj Amin el Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem)

15. Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history and religion. This saves your honour. God is with you. (Haj Amin el Husseini, 1st March 1944 at 12:30 pm, speaking on Radio Berlin.)

It can be easily understood, even from this brief sampling, that Jews suffered extremely poorly under Islam. That they managed to eventually re-establish themselves as a nation almost defies explanation and should be for Christians a cause for celebration and sweet praise to God. To actually triumph against such terrible oppression and return to their spiritual and historical homeland one would have thought that Sydney Anglicans would have shouted with joy at Israel’s 60th Birthday. But, no, they reviled them and accused them of theft, murder and cruelty.(BTW, I wonder how many degrees of separation there are between false accusations and a curse.) The lone correspondent from the Sydney Anglicans to this site was more interested in salvaging the reputation of one of its sons than rebuking him for falsely accusing Jews of stealing land. Shame on you all. I am ashamed as a Christian to be associated with you.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Roll On, Connect 09, Roll On By

I have been following with interest the comments you guys have made about the readiness (or lack of it) of the Anglican Church in Sydney to tackle the challenge of Connect 09. I thought I would pass on my little Sydney experience of late which perhaps throws some light on your views.

As I entered the festival site I soon encountered a stall with a bold sign "FACE PAINTING" a volunteer stepped away from the stall and into my path. She didn't have much to say, just, "Would you like a free sample bag!" With that she thrust at my hand a brown paper bag with string handles. I took delivery of the bag and kept walking. As I walked I noticed a sign on the side of the bag indicating it was the gift of combined local churches.

Heading the list was the Anglican Church, followed by Baptist, Catholic, Community, Uniting and what I suspect was a Charismatic Church.

I had other things to look at so I didn't peer into the bag until I got home. When home I began to open the bag to find out how the local churches, particularly the Anglican Church, was striving to introduce the community to God the Creator of the world, God in Flesh, God the triumphant Saviour, God the Lord of the New Creation.

My hand entered the bag and one after the other it brought forth the following items:

1) A colour brochure promoting World Youth Day 2008 and inviting me to billet an international pilgrim to the event.

2) A small bundle of A4 size sheets covered with black print-on-white word puzzles; cross-word puzzles; colour-in diagrams with biblical messages, one with the words "How to Be Saved" (saved from what, the common person might ask?) followed by the Acts 16:31 quote "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved."

3) A small pack of potato chips.

4) Something stocky but heavy, wait, what is it? aaah ... a small tetra-brick pack of Orange Juice.

5) A card promoting World Youth Day 2008 with an encouragement of "Peace - Our Future."

6) A card promoting the local Baptist Church and advising what programmes it offers.

7) A small lollipop

8) A bookmark promoting the local churches.

9) Another small lollipop.

10) A balloon (deflated of course)

11) A small plastic ring with a smiley face and the words "Jesus Loves You" Oh! and the name of the manufacturer of the ring and the year of manufacture.

There you have it! You guys have questioned the readiness of the church, particularly the Sydney Anglican Church, to take on a mission to the lost in the Name of Jesus Christ. I can sympathise with your reservations. The Church is not really engaging with the lost by just offering them trinkets and face painting.

As one of you suggested, this is not the church triumphant.