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Return to Walton’s Mountain

July 6, 2010

Continuing my read of John H. Walton’s The Lost World of Genesis One.

I was beginning to think it was just me. Was I just so curmudgeonly, or so biased against Walton’s thesis, that page after page he wrote clearly, provided supporting materials, built his case step by step, but still failed to persuade? 

When I say that I mean persuade me, of course. He has gathered quite a following out there, somehow.

Today, however, he has started to make sense. I don’t mean it has clicked and all he has said before now has been transformed before me. No, but he has finally made some statements that I would agree with. What might these be?

 1. His Proposition 8, The Cosmos is a Temple, is very insightful. I mean, it isn’t totally unprecedented; Kline certainly advances this same thesis. But Walton presents it well, and also demonstrates how the Tabernacle and the Temple may be seen as microcosms of the Cosmic Temple. Very nice.

2. Second, he provides the clearest, most precise dispatching of the Day-Age theory that I have yet read. I wish I’d said that.

“These are seven twenty-four hour days. This has always been the best reading of the Hebrew text. Those who have tried to alleviate the tension for the age of the earth commonly suggested that the days should be understood as long eras (the day-age view). This has never been convincing. The evidence used by the proponents of the day-age view is that the word translated “day” (yom) is often a longer period of time, and they chose that meaning for the word in Genesis 1. The first problem with this approach is that the examples generally used of yom referring to an estended period of time are examples in which the word is being used idiomatically: “in that day.” This is a problem because words often take on specialized meaning in idiomatic expressions. So in Hebrew, the phrase “in that day” is simply a way for Hebrew to say “when.” The word yom cannot be removed from that expression and still carry the meaning that it had in the expression. Second, if it could be established that the word yom could refer to a longer period of time, the interpreter would still have the responsibility for determining which meaning the author intended in the passage. Word meanings cannot be chosen as if we were in a cafeteria taking whatever we like. Third, the attempt to read long periods of time is clearly a concordist resort, which will be discussed in chapter eleven.”

Bravo. Unfortunately, I don’t take this understanding quite where he does, but that’s one great paragraph.
3. Shifting gears, this is another criticism.
Here’s a quite different quote:

“We should not worry about the question of “truth” with regard to the Bible’s use of Old World science…”

When I read that, I though he needed to wave his hand in the air.

“You don’t need to see his idenfication.” 
“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

It has a strong effect on the weak minded.
Apparently.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 6, 2010 8:10 am

    Marv –

    I suppose you are not a fan of the BioLogos (http://biologos.org) website and resources?

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