[b-hebrew] Genesis 1:2 - And the earth was without form, and void

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Sat Apr 15 16:01:41 EDT 2006

On 15/04/2006 20:30, Karl Randolph wrote:
> ...
>> You misrepresent me. I don't reject Genesis 1, I just interpret it 
>> in a different way from you.
> The question is, what does it mean according to 
> historical and linguistic principles? If the 
> linguistic principles indicate a six 24 hour day 
> creation, then a reinterpretation is a de facto 
> rejection of the text.
If the earth is flat, then I am wrong to say it is round. But I don't 
accept your premise.
>>     My mention of the Big Bang was 
>> explicitly dependent on "according to those same physicists". But 
>> if I am forced to choose, I would prefer to trust those physicists, 
>> many of whom are also believers, than the people who are mostly 
>> incompetent in theology and biblical languages as well as in 
>> sciences who promote so-called "creation science".
>> ...
> Peter, that characterization of creationists is not 
> like the normal you.
Well, I don't want to get into mud slinging, but this is factually true, 
at least if I replace "incompetent" by "unqualified". For example, the 
recently deceased "Dr. Henry Morris, founder and president emeritus of 
the Institute for Creation Research and the “father” of the modern 
creationist movement" (see 
http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2006/0225morris.asp), was a 
hydraulic engineer, with no qualifications in theology - although 
according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_M._Morris he did have a 
"minor" in geology, so he was not completely scientifically illiterate.

I don't want to defend evolution as an explanatory framework either, 
although (as someone qualified in both science and theology) I accept 
that the general scientific picture of the history of the universe and 
the earth is generally true, although no doubt in need of refinement of 
some details.
> I will not think the less of you if you reject 
> Genesis 1 and are honest about it. It is part of 
> life to disagree with others. But I find this 
> reinterpretation of the text not supported by 
> linguistic principles to be intellectual dishonesty 
> and it is that intellectual dishonesty that I 
> despise. ...

The intellectual dishonesty which I despise is of those who think they 
know better than the experts in a field when they haven't even looked 
properly at the evidence on which the experts base their conclusions.

> ... You claim that "day", when acted on by a 
> number can mean something other than the equivalent 
> of a 24 hour day? The onus in on you to demonstrate 
> other examples where that occurs, ...

I don't accept that onus. But, quite apart from the verses I mentioned 
and concerning which you have not yet answered me, I can validly appeal 
to historical facts. There are many places where we allow our 
interpretation of the biblical text to be informed by what we know to be 
true from external history. And by that same principle, there is ample 
historical evidence that the world was not created in 6 days 6000 years 
ago and so we need to interpret the biblical records in the light of 
that apparent fact.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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