Sunday, October 25, 2020

What Genesis is really about

My letter to Wayne Grudem

Dear Dr Grudem,

I was eager to watch the YouTube video of your talk at Biola ( ) on Genesis 1 defying its corruption by theistic evolutionist tendentiousness.

I know you only had a short time, but there's at least two hours that could be spent to examine the theology that comes out of Genesis 1-3. This is an area of thought that needs the attention of evangelicals. A theology will  answer the 'so what' of defence of the historicity of Genesis 1-3.

Firstly, if I may, a couple of comments on the structure of Genesis 1. I know it is grammatically historical, and it also reads like 'dead-pan' history. It has none of the arch imprecision of time and place or existential discontinuity of myth.

From my studies (at masters level) in computer science (not my major, mind you), the narrative of the days looks like a BC Normal Form data structure, 'days' are the key, each has a count field, a definition field (evening and morning, as a calibration of their duration), a description field and an end of record field. All very economical of space and parsimoniously precise.

Another aside. People worry about incest in the first generation. Not because of the law, but because of biology. However, we can assume the gene pool of A&E was perfect, eliminating that quibble.

The major concern we should have of the three theistic-evolutionists you mentioned in your talk is their implicit philosophical idealism: this results in God communicating what is by a 'story' of what is not: that is, not true to events in our time and place (I avoid 'space' so as not to confuse this with physics). Therefore they must hold that something else really happened, not what is stated, and that it is this something else (evolution!) that defines reality and our experience of it. Thus we end up with both an ontology and an ethics denominated by chance (despite the warning of Isaiah 65:11, for instance). Yet this does not reflect our innate aspiration, or our experience of our own interaction with the world. Our 'word' is reliably casual in achieving effects. No one takes their car to an 'evolutionary mechanic'!

The theology of Genesis 1 starts, in my thinking, with God's creation over a series of days. Days are how we experience life. Specificity of place and time denominates our 'life-world'

Genesis 1 shows that God is active and present in our life-world, working in the circumscriptions of time and place that we have, by God's grace. God is near, as Jeremiah 23:23 reminds us, and not far off. God moves the creation by logical stages from the creation of energy (light) to the completed habitable setting of our fellowship with him: where, to borrow from N. T. Wright (ironically) heaven and earth are shown to 'come together', to overlap, or to become coincident existentially as God forms us in his image and speaks to us (A&E) within our place.

There is an astonishing intimacy that God shows us in coming into our constrained world, it's terms, categories and how it works with reliable causality showing us its nature, and to create it for us to bear his image and be his people in a commutative relationship (relationship expressed mutually).
There is nothing of the myth here: God is not remote or unapproachable, he is not restrained in some place of which we are unaware. Nor is he unknowable and depersonalised. He is here, in our life-space, being the relating God in community with his creatures, showing and being love.

God also creates in a rational, causally reliable continuity from Logos (he speaks) to effect (techne) making our episteme also reliable and truthful. This is not the 'world' of the Hindu or materialist illusion. It is the world where we directly and reliably experience what truly is. There is no platonic, or mythic 'is' that we need to refer to, there is only what comes from God's word (Hebrews 11:3 reminds us).

The TE theologians must split God off from his creation and sever his intimate connection with the concrete reality he creates for our habitation and pleasure, and for communion with him. They sever God's creating actions from the flow of history and its continuous ontology in which he overcomes the fall and brings about his Kingdom, yet the Bible brackets this flow of history with two great conjunctions of Heaven and Earth, both in terms of our existential place in a real reality. These are the Creation, and the New Creation, with the peak event where this also happens in the Incarnation.

These theologians  place their theology of creation in Genesis 3:8b: they hide from God. Evolution starts here: it's the means, along with the long fantasy ages of materialism and paganism ( ) to separate God and his creatures. Indeed this was expressly the mission of Hutton, and carried out by Lyell ( ). Our TE brothers advance this mission.

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