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Friday, October 10, 2008

Studies in Genesis 1

An Anglican church on Sydney's North Shore is studying Gen 1. If the sermons are any good, I'll give a link, if not...

But here's the study.

Let's discuss the answers.

1. For starters: How does our worldview/culture 'change' the way in which we interpret and understand texts?

2. Read Genesis 1:1-2
What was there before creation? How is creation initiatied?

3. What state of creation is verse 2 explaining? How does it help us understand God's creating as an ordered process?

4. Read Genesis 1:1-25
Looking through each of the 6 days of creation how do we see the following pattern repeated:

-+ An announcement: "God said"

-+ An imperative: "Let there be"

-+ A report: "and it was so"

-+ An evaluation: "And God saw that it was..."

5. What does this pattern tell us of the importance of God's word in creation?

6. What does this pattern tell us of God's involvement and purpose in creation? Is he pleased with it? Is it good?

7. How do the following days seem to correspond to each other in the creation process (what is created in each and what relationship do they have):

-+ 7a. Days 1 and 4

-+ 7b. Days 2 and 5

-+ 7c. Days 3 and 6

8. How does this relationship between the days answer the problem in vs. 2 of the earth being 'formless and empty'?

9. What picture of God begins to emerge in Genesis 1? How might this stand against current 'pictures' of God?

10. To discuss: What is the purpose of Genesis 1? How does our worldview help or hinder the way in which we read and interpret it?

10 comments:

Critias said...

OK, I'll be first in:

1: By providing the categories of reference by which we interpret our experience. That's how. But I think the question wants to go further than that. The world view will filter our understanding: if we have a biblical worldview (the historically most productive world view history has seen) then you are more likely to think in line with what is real. If you have a non-biblical world view, such as a 'materialist' view, for instance, then you'll reject out of hand anything that conflicts, at the 'world view' level with your pre-commitment to materialism. If you have this commitment, even if unacknowledged, you'll more be persuaded by the conclusions made by those who start of with the assumption that there is no god. And so, without passing Go, we go straight to the deistic gaol of theistic-evolution.

Critias said...

1: a couple of Bible passages that fit in:

Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

2 Corinthians 10:5
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

Colossians 2:8
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Eric said...

1: Critias, thanks. I think the 'moral' verses in Jeremiah can apply here too. Often we just think of them in moral terms; but sinfulness penetrates our thinking (and thus Paul's entreaties as you have listed them). So:

Jeremiah 13:10
'This wicked people, who refuse to listen to My words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts and have gone after other gods to serve them and to bow down to them, let them be just like this waistband which is totally worthless.

Jeremiah 17:9
"The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

Is SAD just a waistband then?

neil moore said...

Eric, are the questions straight from the study which is to comliment the sermons?

If so, they seemed to be couched in a manner leading to accommodation of the 'Framework Hypothesis' and also the 'Gap Theory'.

Or are they questions you would ask only to dismiss responses that go down the 'Framework Hypothesis' and 'Gap Theory' path?

Neil

Eric said...

Neil, the questions are straight from the study booklet I was given. I would guess that they will parallel the sermon series. And, yes, I agree, its a set up either for the framework hypothesis (which is dead easy to refute) and/or the gap theory. Or, if not that, then it will adopt another literary approach which pretends a separation between revelation and the real world which is the only referent for that revelation.

I was looking at some old notes from Moore College last night and, ironically, came across this statement quoting the lecturer: "literary form is not a categorical limitation". Nice.

Over and above that, the Bible is intentional writing, so of course adopts literary forms; its literature after all; so what else could it do. Statement of the obvious really which tells us nothing new.

Critias said...

1: While we're on about morality texts, I think this really hits the idea of 'world view'.

Judges 21:25
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Not the king but, but the 'everyone...own eyes' bit. Is this not how people construct a world view that sidelines the Bible...people; I mean Christians!!

neil moore said...

A new reformation is needed in the Sydney Anglican Diocese if the thinking behind that study and the accompanying sermon is widespread.

Scripture interprets Scripture, not one's worldview. Shameful!

Neil

John said...

I noticed the biblical quotes from the OT. However, the SADs never think that these ever apply to them. I suppose they think that their shelf life ended 2,500+ years ago.

Eric said...

1: I’m just reading Bartholomew’s review of Thiselton’s work
(Three Horizons: Hermeneutics from the Other End—An Evaluation of Anthony Thiselton’s Hermeneutic Proposals, European Journal of Theology 5.2 (1966): 121-135.)

A few quotes are apposite.

“Every theology is dependent for the clarification of its concepts upon a pretheological understanding of man that, as a rule, is determined by some philosophical tradition”

and

“…Thiselton agrees with Bultmann and Gadamer that neutral, non-presuppositional interpretation is impossible. Every interpreter operates with a pre-understanding. ‘Part of the relevance of philosophical considerations to NT [and OT, obviously] interpretation emerge when we begin to ask what questions, and what conceptual frame, the interpreter brings with him to the text…Every interpreter approaches the NT from the standpoint of a particular perspective. This is not necessarily to accuse him of undue prejudice. It is to stress that he approaches it with ‘a way of raising questions’. But are our questions the right questions? Should our own questions be encouraged, modified, suppressed?”

and, from the Church of England Doctrine Report:

“No one expounds the Bible to himself or anyone else without bringing to the task his own prior frame of reference, his own pattern of reference, his own pattern of assumptions which derive from sources outside the Bible’.

So, world view is a determinant of our understanding of the Biblical texts, it would seem: should bring pause for reflection to those who’ve allowed materialist precepts to provide their philosophical furniture. Beware of Philosophy

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