Genesis

The Precedent for Literal Grammatical Historical Hermeneutics in Genesis

In order to arrive at a Scriptural approach for interpreting Scriptures, the interpretive method must be exegetically derived from within the Scriptural text. Otherwise, there can be no claim to hermeneutical certainty, because any externally derived interpretive method can be preferred and applied simply by exerting presuppositions upon the text. In the case of an externally derived hermeneutic, presuppositions leading to that hermeneutical conclusion create a pre-understanding that predetermines meaning independent of the author’s intentions. The outcome, in such a case, can be wildly different than what the author had in mind.

If the Bible is merely a collection of ancient stories, legends, and myth, interspersed with mildly historical accounts, then the stakes are not particularly high. The greatest damage we can inflict by a faulty hermeneutical method is of the same weight as misunderstanding the motivations and activities of Mark Twain’s adventurous character, Tom Sawyer, for example. In such an instance we would simply fail to recognize the aesthetic virtues of a creative work.

However, if the Bible constitutes an actual revelation from God, then it bears the very authority of the Author, Himself – an authority that extends to every aspect of life and conduct. These are high stakes, indeed. If we fail to engage the text with the interpretive approach intended by its Author, then we fail not just to appreciate aesthetic qualities, but we fail to grasp who God is, and what He intends for us to do.

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New Year Thoughts on the Meaning of Life

A study by LifeWay Research several years ago found that 75% of the general population agreed with the statement, “There is an ultimate purpose and plan for every person’s life.” That number still seems surprisingly high to me. The same study found that 50% of those who never attend church services said there is no purpose or plan for human lives.

Though Christians are usually clear that there is purpose and meaning in life, many seem confused as to what exactly that purpose is. So my aim here is to answer what is really a pretty simple question:

What is the meaning of life?

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The Creation Narrative - Genesis 1 & 2 (Part 1)

Creation & Communication

Without the creation of Adam and Eve the whole sequence of days which preceded them would be a rather futile exercise. If the sequence found in the Bible’s very first chapter is to signify anything as a sequence, it had to be an actual seven day sequence. Otherwise it is hard to see why ordinal numbers would be used to describe the process.

Also, without observers capable of recognizing and wondering after God’s wonders around them, God’s disclosure, and with it what we call theology, would be a moot: and so would everything else beyond the Divine Eternity.

God did not have to create to satisfy any longing within Himself. Although the ideas within the mind of the Creator which led up to Him becoming a Creator are not vouchsafed to us, we must realize that since love is communicative at its core, any creation by the God of love would be language-based. This is why the creative days lead up to man and God’s speaking to man. Man is communicative through language for the main purpose of talking back to God in love. A loving Creator will make a talking creature; someone to converse with and who will talk to Him. This is what human beings are. This is our status, our purpose in the world. Without mankind the world is just a great museum.

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Twelve of the Most Annoying Arguments Used Against Biblical Creation, Part 3

(Read Part 1 and Part 2.)

9. The days in Genesis do not have to be 24-hour days.

Why It Sounds Good

In passages like Zechariah 14:20, which talks of the day of the Lord, and 2 Peter 3:8, the word “day” is used for more than a twenty-four-hour time period and 2 Peter 3:8 teaches that, for God, a “day is like a thousand years.” Therefore, the Bible student is not tied to interpreting the Genesis account of “day” in a twenty-four-hour fashion.

Why It Is Annoying

It is true that the Bible uses the word “day” in many different ways. It speaks of day as twenty-four hours, as signifying a time period, as describing the difference between day and night. So, how would one know which use is being used? Context, always context. When Genesis 1 and 2 are examined, it can readily be seen that even it uses the word day in different fashions. But this is actually an argument against playing fast and loose with the word. For if the context itself indicates that it is using day in a different sense, then it will determine its own meaning. So how is day used in the passage?

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Twelve of the Most Annoying Arguments Used Against Biblical Creation, Part 2

(Read Part 1.)

4. Arguing that “since scientists do not yet understand a natural phenomenon, God must have done it” is a fallacious “God of the gaps” argument.

Why It Sounds Good

This type of argument actually is a “God of the gaps” argument and sadly, in church history, many have used this approach.

Why It Is Annoying

There are two significant problems. First, creationists, as a whole, rarely argue this way any longer. Rather, creationists have increasingly been arguing for creation from what we do know about the universe. For example, in philosopher William Lane Craig’s1 version of the Kalam Cosmological argument,2 he states:

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Twelve of the Most Annoying Arguments Used Against Biblical Creation, Part 1

(Special thanks to GARBC.org for bringing this article to our attention.)

There are certain tasks I do not enjoy having to do on a regular basis. One that immediately comes to mind is garbage night. Every Tuesday night, the garbage cans and recyclables go out to the curb. Rain or shine, hot or cold, it still must be done. Even though I just did it seven days ago, they sit on the driveway waiting to be taken on their weekly walk. I stress this point in the hopes that you, the reader, will sympathize with me as you read my verse of lament and will join with me in singing the chorus of gripe: “O garbage night, O garbage night, I loathe you deeply, garbage night!”

There are also, in the debate concerning evolution and the age of the earth, certain arguments I grow tired of hearing. When these arguments are given, I confess that I find myself mentally checking out of the conversation because I see that the person is often simply parroting from others what he or she has heard and has not really thought through the issues at hand.

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