Calvin the Toothless Hick Fundy

In my two previous posts, we have seen how Calvin analyzed creation with no scientific data, and how he conformed to scientific data. Let’s see where Calvin draws the line on the slippery slope of conformity. Here Calvin comments on Gen 1:15:

It is well again to repeat what I have said before, that it is not here philosophically discussed, how great the sun is in the heaven, and how great, or how little, is the moon; but how much light comes to us from them. For Moses here addresses himself to our senses, that the knowledge of the gifts of God which we enjoy may not glide away. Therefore, in order to apprehend the meaning of Moses, it is to no purpose to soar above the heavens; let us only open our eyes to behold this light which God enkindles for us in the earth. By this method (as I have before observed) the dishonesty of those men is sufficiently rebuked, who censure Moses for not speaking with greater exactness. For as it became a theologian, he had respect to us rather than to the stars.

So far so good. (At this point, I am reminded of the Augustine quote, “One does not read in the Gospel that the Lord said: I will send you the Paraclete who will teach you about the course of the sun and moon. For He willed to make them Christians, not mathematicians.”) But don’t get Calvin started on the moon! Too late, there he goes, that crazy old coot:

Nor, in truth, was [Moses] ignorant of the fact, that the moon had not sufficient brightness to enlighten the earth, unless it borrowed from the sun; but he deemed it enough to declare what we all may plainly perceive, that the moon is a dispenser of light to us. That it is, as the astronomers assert, an opaque body, I allow to be true, while I deny it to be a dark body. For, first, since it is placed above the element of fire, it must of necessity be a fiery body. Hence it follows, that it is also luminous; but seeing that it has not light sufficient to penetrate to us, it borrows what is wanting from the sun. He calls it a lesser light by comparison; because the portion of light which it emits to us is small compared with the infinite splendor of the sun.

At this point, the editor/translator apologizes for Calvin’s backwardness with the footnote: “The reader will be in no danger of being misled by the defective natural philosophy of the age in which this was written.” As far as I can tell, that footnote dates from 1847. I think all would agree that, had Calvin received a 20th (or even 19th) century liberal education, he would not have incorrectly insisted on the Greek quadrivium of elements: earth, wind, water, fire; (but then again, if he had only a 20th century education, he quite probably wouldn’t have been anything like the scholar he was, so it’s probably better this way!)

The real question which I offer up for discussion is, if Calvin had access to the astronomy of today, in whose camp would he pitch his tent: YEC or OEC? Given his wholehearted approval of astronomy, I think he would agree that “astronomers prove, by conclusive reasons” that visibility of far-distant astronomical objects demonstrates an old universe.

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24 Responses

  1. Better to say that the narrative is clearly accommodated to our weakness/finitude, and that therefore, not meant to be taken literally, setting us free from being forced to deny what so much of what science tells us, because it’s not a problem for the text when properly interpreted.

    After all, we aren’t letting science DETERMINE how we interpret Gen 1. We see the text as analogous quite apart from anything in general revelation. The text itself is chalk full of analogy. When once that has been understood, then we can go to science and say, “Oh yeah, that’s neat that God’s creation is so vast and complex. That’s pretty cool that God spent literally billions of years preparing the creation for us to inhabit. That’s awesome.”

    E

  2. Did Calvin ever believe that the moon was bigger than Saturn (by virtue of Gen 1:16)? Was his mind changed by the conclusive reasons of the astronomers? How can we root out all of our illegitimate exegeses, without the help of eisegesis spurred by natural revelation?

  3. I can forgive Calvin’s biff on astronomy, but I’m afraid I can never forgive the picture he paints of a bipolar Jesus, weeping over Jerusalem for not embracing Him, while knowing they weren’t elected and had no chance anyway.

    Thanks, John.

    Get back to the moon.

  4. I’m glad at least you can embrace a bipolar sovereign God, who created man so that he could fall, and got angry when he did.

    No more Arminian threadjacking!

  5. Hey Rube,

    He would have agreed with the evolutionists too. After all, all the best and brightest “scientists” are agreed.

    I can come up with these examples ad nauseum.

    The best wine experts would have concluded that Jesus’ wine was at least 25 years aged.

    All the best doctors would tell you that Adam was 25 yr. old when he was 25 minutes old.

    Way for God to deceive us with the appearance of age.

    The best neuroscientists can explain *everything* we used to have to appeal to a “mind” for. That’s why many prominent Christain philosophers and scientists have become constitutionalists.

    The majority of archeologists and linguists and anthropologists undermine Mosaic authorship. The majority of archeologists do not believe in the exodus or the wilderness generation. Where’s the evidence of this mass of people in the who lived in the desert for so long?

    All these people make the same “so and so proves by conclusive reasons” and “so and so demonstrated that such and such.”

    Oh, and why think Calvin wouldn’t have bought into the arguments undermining the *assumptions* the astronomers make?

    And why think Calvin would have been a scientific realist given the turn in that debate? After all, he was philosophically sophisticated too. Why wouldn’t he have jumped onboard with the best the philosophy of science has to offer?

    You’ve yet to convince me that you’re arguments are not arbitrary.

    You’re arguments routinely make more leaps and assumptions than the astronomers you point to do.

  6. Btw,

    To answer your question, Calvin would have sided with the side that had the best exegetical argument.

    He, like Echo, woud do that.

    And I have demonstrated that the 6-dayers make the best exegetical case. :-D

    Let me make the argument:

    1. Assume Scriptute is infallible and inerrant on what it teaches.

    2. Assume that the findings of science are fallible. The history of science has, actually, borne out that *most* theories eventually get falsified!

    I take it that (1) and (2) will be granted here.

    Thus:

    If Scripture teaches some teaching T, and if science says ~T, then ~~T.

    Therefore, I have proven that *if* I can demonstrate that the text teaches the six-day view, then the OEC view *must* be false.

    Let’s give the proper respect to the *Queene* of the sciences!

  7. I mean “Queen.” :-)

  8. Paul,

    About Calvin: astronomy didn’t force him to take a non-literal view of the text. But (it seems to me) that since he had a non-literal view of the text (or at least might have), that in that light, he had no problem with what astronomers were saying. I think we’d be hard pressed to say that his knowledge of astronomy pushed him to take a non-literal view of the text.

    For my part, I am continually trying to ask myself again and again if it is science or the text that pushes me to have a non-literal view of it. I don’t want INTERPRETED scientific evidence to push me to change my interpretation of the text. The text itself is its own best interpreter. Scripture with Scripture, right?

    However, I think your statement that “The history of science has, actually, borne out that *most* theories eventually get falsified!” needs some tempering. Most theories of science are refined, adjusted, added to, built upon, but most are not found to be simply false, completely untrue. Newton, for example, was proven to be not entirely accurate, but he’s not entirely inaccurate either. Newton wasn’t falsified by Einstein, he was refined.

    Nonetheless, I think your basic point remains legitimate, and one that should be heeded. We should not allow scientists’ interpretation of their findings to rule how we interpret Scripture. After all, tomorrow, scientists may announce that they are wrong to posit that a star being 14 billion light years away means that the universe is at least 14 billion years old, because they have refined Einstein a little, and found that because of the distortion of time at the speed of light, light actually travels instantaneously, even though it looks like it travels at the rate of speed we’ve always thought it traveled at since Einstein. Perhaps they will say that this constant remains an important number, but that it just no longer represents the actual speed of light, only the observed speed of light, and therefore, a star being 14 billion years old cannot be inferred from its distance of 14 billion light years. In fact, they may say, when we look at the heavens, we are seeing the stars as they are right now.

    Who knows? They may say so tomorrow. We who take a non-literal view had better be sure that our understanding of the text doesn’t rest on such things.

    I’m with Calvin; it’s accommodated language. If I say that “my car is a lemon”, I guarantee you that 3000 years from now, they’ll be wondering what I mean by “car”, and in their English lexicons, one of the possible definitions of “car” will be “a piece of fruit”. I can almost guarantee it, because I’m speaking of my car as if it’s a lemon, even though I give no clue in what I’ve said that that’s what I’m saying. Nope, you just have to know that I don’t mean that my car is a piece of fruit.

    This is why I say that your linguistic arguments (about ordinals attached to “day” for example) are not convincing. You are ruling out the possibility of analogy a priori. You say “yom” when used this way always signifies an ordinary day, but I say, “Not if this narrative is an analogy, for then here we find an exception.”

    The best response you could give to this would be that I’m saying that the text is analogical a priori, and therefore, I’m irrationally rejecting (arbitrarily) any evidence to the contrary. That would be a good argument. The only problem is that there’s no linguistic evidence that proves that when I say “my car is a lemon” is an analogy. The only thing that proves it is knowing that my car is not a piece of fruit, and thus I MUST mean that my car is LIKE a lemon.

    So when I approach the text, I begin with an assumption about what CAN be said about God’s work of creation. CAN God’s works of creation be described to us in detail, WOULD that be what Moses is trying to do? No and no. That’s why I’ve argued from Job, for example. That’s also why I’ve argued from the starting point of the point of the passage. That’s why I have asked if the narrative describes creation in exhaustive detail. It presents itself as if it IS describing ALL the works of creation in exhaustive detail, but it clearly ISN’T describing all the works of creation in exhaustive detail. That’s why I’ve talked about Isa 45, where God says that he created darkness, but Gen 1 begins with darkness pre-existent, for example. That’s why I think Job’s greater detail ought to give us pause, because it implies that many details are missing from the Gen 1 account. That’s why I’ve said that the length of the days isn’t the point of the passage, but that the 6 days are used to support the practice/doctrine of the Sabbath. That’s why I’ve talked about the NT’s use of words like “Today” and “rest”, particularly in Hebrews. And that’s also why I have talked about John’s prologue as being of a similar genre as Gen 1. All of this adds up to one inescapable conclusion for me, namely that the text is an analogy, like saying, “my car is a lemon”. It is as Calvin says, accommodating language.

    By the way, have you ever run across a response to the argument that the first toledoth (these are the generations…) doesn’t come until Gen 2, making Gen 1 a prologue, and thus not simply historical prose? This argument argues from the structure of the book of Genesis that Gen 1 is not in the genre of historical narrative/prose, but in the genre of “prologue”, which can probably be likened to apocalyptic literature.

    In case you don’t know what I’m talking about (though I’m sure you do), the book of Gen is broken into 10 “toledoth” sections. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth…these are the generations of Adam, etc. These headings refer to what follows (not what precedes), and mark the structure of the book.

    Simply put, Gen 1 is not part of that structure, but comes before that structure begins. It is therefore a prologue, like the prologue to John’s Gospel. Not simply historical prose/narrative, but an introduction to the historical prose to follow.

    Let’s just put the implications aside for the time being, because frankly I’m not qualified to discuss with much lucidity what the implications might be, other than to say that it means you can’t take it literally. I’m just wondering if you’ve got an answer for that argument, or if you’ve run across it somewhere.

    What I mean is, I don’t really understand what characterizes a prologue, because the only other example of such a thing that I’m aware of is John’s prologue (1:1-18), which I find quite confounding and awe inspiring. Understanding that passage is quite difficult. But I wouldn’t say that, for example, for all prologues, they cannot be historical prose, or that they all must be taken analogically. I’m not prepared to make such a statement.

    However, just look at John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” That’s quite the statement when you think about it.

    But when I come to this verse, I think that if I were to say, “It speaks of the Word, so God must have a mouth, and Jesus is the Word that comes out of that mouth, so Jesus proceeds from the mouth of the Father” – were I to say that from this text, I believe I’d be making the text say something that it did not intend to say. And yet, if I take it literally (univocally), I’d be forced to that conclusion. This is clearly analogical language, though on the face of it, it doesn’t present itself that way.

    How do we KNOW it’s an analogy? Well, because God doesn’t have a mouth, and because God’s Word is eternal, and thus cannot be made up of sound waves in space-time. Word here must refer to something LIKE words that come out of our mouths, but not exactly the SAME as sound waves that come out of our mouths. The only category left then is analogy.

    If there is analogy in John’s prologue, and it’s not simply historical prose, and if Gen 1 is similar to John 1:1-18, then perhaps an analogical view of the text of Gen 1 isn’t such a ridiculous, Scripture undermining, arbitrary, liberal, evolution loving view.

    But again, I don’t feel qualified to really remark about what a prologue is in the abstract, or what kind of literary rules such a genre typically follows.

    Although, John is clearly associating his prologue with the prologue of Genesis. He’s definitely doing so self consciously, especially in vv.1-5. So maybe this argument is more weighty than I think it is.

    E

  9. I don’t want INTERPRETED scientific evidence to push me to change my interpretation of the text.

    So your interpretation of special revelation is infallible, whereas your interpretation of general revelation is not? As I see it, if you can’t find any flaw in your interpretation of scientific evidence, it’s worth giving your interpretation of scripture another look.

  10. As I see it, if you can’t find any flaw in your interpretation of scientific evidence, it’s worth giving your interpretation of scripture another look.

    And the flip side is even stronger, I’d say. Indeed, the Holy Spirit doesn’t aid in my interpretation of the text of nature, at least not as he does in Scripture. And, since Scripture functions as the testimony of another person, it’s warrant is more basic than inferential warrant.

  11. Echo,

    I grant your point on scientific theories, but there have still been a great many that have been flat out falsified. Some have been refined, but many, perhaps even most, have been falsified. This is what happens in the journals all the time. Neither I nor you have done a scientific study in order to get the statistics, though.

    As far as the rest, my arguments were much *more* than *simply* the ordinal argument you keep bringing up. As I have mentioned numerous times, over and over, I was/have been giving a *cumulative case* argument. or, an *abductive* argument.

    Now, you obviously don’t take *everything* in Gen 1 to be analogy. If you did, then you would take “man” to be an analogy, and thus you open the door for denying Adam! You don’t take “animal” to be an analogy. You don’t take “kind” to be an analogy. You don’t take “plant” and “water” and “land” to be analogy. But you do when it comes to “day.”

    Okay:

    So, you’d have to lay out necessary and sufficient criteria by which I can see how you properly demarcate what is and what isn’t analogy in Gen. 1.

    No one has been able to do this; I doubt you’ll be the first.

    Furthermore:

    The Scripture specifically patterns man’s work week after God’s own original creation week (Ex 20:9-11; 31:17). And as stated there, such is not for purposes of analogy, but *imitation*.

    Besides, to what could the creation days be analogous? God dwells in *timeless* eternity (Isa 57:15) and does not exist under *temporal* constraints (2 Pe 3:8).

    I’d also add that analogy deals with God’s *nature*, his *attributes* his *character*. I think you are stretching it “analogy” too far. People frequently take doctrines too far. So you wouldn’t be an anomaly.

    The analogy argument *inverts* reality. Young remarks that: “Man is to ‘remember’ the Sabbath day, for God has instituted it…. The human week derives validity and significance from the creative week. The fourth commandment constitutes a decisive argument against any non-chronological scheme of the six days of Genesis one” (Genesis One, 78-79). ”

    So, it’s not just that I will come back with “you a prioritize too”.

    I make argument for and against my position.

    I’m trying to present a full *case*.

    You do not have to accept it. You probably won’t. But, I think the *case* I have presented, both positive *and* negative, shows the exegetical strength of my position.

    I hope the above at least shows how and why I reject the analogical view…apologies to Godfrey et al!

    Lastly, since OEC believes that *billions* of years have transpired from day one until man left the garden, they want me to believe that we *just left* creation week! :-)

  12. I said: “I make argument for and against my position.”

    I meant: “I make arguments for my position and against the other position. I can do the positive task of exegesis as well as the negative task of critical inquiry.”

  13. Rube,

    You said: “So your interpretation of special revelation is infallible, whereas your interpretation of general revelation is not?”

    Echo: I didn’t say that, and that’s not logically implied by what I said. What I meant to say was that my interpretation of the text of Scripture cannot DEPEND on my interpretation of observed scientific data.

    You said: “As I see it, if you can’t find any flaw in your interpretation of scientific evidence, it’s worth giving your interpretation of scripture another look.”

    Echo: True enough. I’ve even said as much. But you aren’t distinguishing the same things I am. I’m distinguishing between taking another look at Scripture on the one hand, and changing your view of Scripture simply based on scientific evidence on the other.

    In other words, if you look at science, conclude that the earth is billions of years old, and then go to the Bible and conclude that Gen 1 MUST therefore be some kind of analogy, you’re in the wrong. You’ve taken a wrong step.

    If, on the other hand, you find a billion year old earth to be inescapable from science, and then take another look at Scripture, and then REALIZE that the Gen 1 actually IS analogy, making the billion year old earth no longer problematic, then that’s ok, and very different from what I said above.

    What’s the difference? Well, it has to do with the premises for the conclusion: “Gen 1 is an analogy”. All of your premises must come from the text. If one of your premises is science, then you’re in the wrong.

    And here’s the application. If suddenly some crazy revolution in science were to happen tomorrow, and they all said that the earth was CLEARLY and unanimously only 10,000 years old, that everything we’ve always believed was wrong, then I would still hold the analogical view of the text.

    The only thing that can change my view of the text is the text. Science may be a reason why I return to the text, but if I can find no flaw in my understanding of the text, then screw science! Let science be damned if it means upholding Scripture.

    This is not irrational. It’s having priorities right. It’s walking by faith, not by sight.

    Thankfully, I don’t have to choose between evidence for an old earth and the authority of Scripture, because I have an analogical view of the text. But make no mistake, it is the text, and I’m convinced ONLY the text that drives me to my view. It has to be that way.

    But not all science should be understood the same way. Remember, the age of the earth is THEORY, not undisputed fact. By comparison, “the sky is blue” is indisputable. If the Bible said, “the sky is red”, then I’d be forced to interpret THAT text analogically, to be SURE.

    Similarly, if the Bible says, as in Isa 59, that God puts on a helmet, I am forced to take that analogically. Why? Because just as I know that the sky is blue, I also know God doesn’t have a head, and even if he did, it wouldn’t need the protection of a helmet. So I KNOW that it’s analogy.

    But the age of the earth isn’t quite so indisputable. The age of the earth is theory, the distance of stars is THEORY. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m ok with an old earth and stars billions of light years away, and I’m fine with saying that that implies that the universe is billions of years old. But I’m not fine with saying that this is CERTAIN. It’s probably true, and I believe it, but it’s a fallible belief. More evidence may eventually come to light – who knows?

    My analogous understanding of Gen 1 cannot be based on fallible, scientific theory.

    E

  14. Paul,

    You said: “I grant your point on scientific theories, but there have still been a great many that have been flat out falsified.”

    Echo: we need to stop arguing this point, because we’re on the same side of it. See my comments to Rube above.

    You said:

    “Now, you obviously don’t take *everything* in Gen 1 to be analogy. If you did, then you would take “man” to be an analogy, and thus you open the door for denying Adam! You don’t take “animal” to be an analogy. You don’t take “kind” to be an analogy. You don’t take “plant” and “water” and “land” to be analogy. But you do when it comes to “day.”

    Echo: I don’t think I follow you here. I’m not claiming that simply the word “day” should be taken analogously, but the entire passage. I could be wrong, but you seem to think that my position is something other than it is. You seem to think, to me at least, that my position is that the narrative is equivocal, not analogical. Let me define some terms.

    Univocal: one to one correspondence.
    Equivocal: the one has nothing to do with the other.
    Analogical: some similarity, some difference.

    Example: “my car is a lemon”.

    Univocal interpretation: my car is a piece of fruit.
    Equivocal interpretation: the statement means nothing, because there is no similarity between my car and a lemon.
    Analogical interpretation: my car is like a lemon in some limited way.

    I don’t have an equivocal view of the narrative, but an analogical view of the narrative. The narrative as a whole, I mean. I am NOT saying that the narrative bears NO SIMILARITY WHATSOEVER to the reality of God’s acts of creation.

    Here’s another example of analogy in Scripture: the tabernacle. The tabernacle bears some resemblance to heavenly realities. Thus it was very important for Moses to make the tabernacle in exactly the way he was instructed. However, when we get to heaven, will we expect to see another tabernacle, just as Moses’ tabernacle? Will it look exactly the same? No, but every detail of the tabernacle was meant to teach something about heavenly realities analogously. This is what Heb 8:5 means.

    So when you ask which words exactly should be analogously understood, and which ones should be taken literally, you’re asking the wrong question of my view. It is not the case that I take everything literally except for the word “day”. No, the passage as a whole is an analogy. The word “day” is not stripped of all meaning any more than the other words in the passage are stripped of meaning.

    But consider God’s speaking in the passage. This is clearly analogous language. God doesn’t have a mouth from which sound waves come forth. Yet, the passage says that God spoke. This doesn’t have no meaning at all, yet it doesn’t mean that sound waves came out of God’s mouth either. Univocal and equivocal are both ruled out, so analogy is the only category left.

    In the statement “my car is a lemon”, neither the word “car” nor the word “lemon” are by themselves analogous. An actual car is what is meant by “car” and an actual lemon is what is meant by “lemon”. Nonetheless, the sentence as a whole is an analogy. “My car is a lemon” means my car is like a lemon, in that it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, because it’s always costing me money in repairs.

    Understand then, that according to my view, the word “day” means “day”, just as in the sentence “my car is a lemon”, an actual lemon is what is being referred to. However, just as “my car is a lemon” is an analogy, so is Gen 1, when taken as a whole.

    You said: “So, you’d have to lay out necessary and sufficient criteria by which I can see how you properly demarcate what is and what isn’t analogy in Gen. 1.”

    Echo: sigh. You’re asking me for a mathematical formula where such a formula is inappropriate.

    If I say to you that “my car is a lemon”, it makes perfect sense to you that I’m speaking analogously. 3000 years from now, however, they will have forgotten that people used to speak this way. They might not even know what a car is or what a lemon is. How will they judge rightly that my statement is analogous? What about the words teaches that it’s an analogy? Nothing really. My statement seems like simple predication. I have no doubt that such statements will be confounding to people who study them in the future.

    Nonetheless, I have tried to offer reasons for taking the passage analogously. It all stems from problems that arise when taking the passage univocally as you do.

    1. When the passage is taken univocally, it detracts from what is clearly the point of the passage. I’ve explained this before.

    2. When taken univocally, the passage is made to teach more than it really is. It becomes a science book. The creation becomes the main subject of the narrative rather than God.

    3. The passage is a prologue, outside of the toledoth structure of Genesis, and thus not in the genre of historical prose anyway.

    4. When taken univocally, consistent hermeneutics demand that certain things be taken univocally that are clearly not meant to be, such as the government of the sun over the day.

    5. When taken univocally, the passage cannot be accommodating language in any way, but must have a one to one correspondence with what actually took place.

    6. If the language isn’t accommodating, then the narrative forgets to tell us when darkness was created and when the waters were created. So there must have been a day of creation activity before the first day, call it day zero, on which God created darkness and the waters.

    7. When taken univocally, creation ex nihilo is destroyed, because the darkness and the waters are pre-existent.

    8. When taken univocally, there must be primordial waters in the creation, and yet no one knows what they might be. Therefore, when taken univocally, the passage doesn’t even describe the creation with which we are familiar, and thus demands that we believe something strange about the creation.

    9. Unless of course you believe in the ancient cosmology with a dome of heaven and waters above such a dome, making the sky blue, and waters below the dry land, in which souls await the day of judgment, and unless you believe that stars are little lights strung about in the dome of heaven – in short, a flat earth.

    10. When taken univocally, God has a mouth, from which sound waves proceed, and these sound waves were heard by non-existent things, which obeyed and came into being. Thus non-existent things, since they can hear, actually do exist in some sense, since they have ears to hear, and since they have minds that judge that it is best to obey the commands of God, so that when he commands that you come into existence, you had better do it! Thus again, when taken univocally, creation ex nihilo becomes a pipe dream, because the passage doesn’t support it.

    All of these things, when taken together, along with a host of other reasons that I have elucidated before ad naseum, add up to one simple conclusion: the passage cannot be taken univocally, but must be taken analogically. Unless of course you want to say that the text has no meaning and should be taken equivocally, but then you wouldn’t even believe that what the Bible says is true anymore.

    The way I see it, people with your point of view of the passage have only a very limited number of options.

    1. You can say that none of these objections to univocal interpretation matter. You can just gloss over it and ignore it.

    2. You can make arguments against what I have said, and perhaps do some gymnastics in order to uphold “ex nihilo”.

    3. Or you can admit that the passage really should be understood to be analogous.

    I’ll make it very simple for you. Tell me how your interpretation of Gen 1 can be reconciled to Isa 45, where God claims that he creates darkness. In other words, prove from your univocal interpretation of Gen 1 the truth of the proposition:

    “God created darkness.”

    Prove that from Gen 1. If you can, and still hold to your univocal interpretation, then I’ll be shocked, and you will have proven that your view doesn’t destroy creation ex nihilo.

    If you can’t prove that proposition from the passage, it might be time to admit that your view actually destroys the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, and give it up.

    Isa 45:7a “I form light and create darkness…”

    By the way, the verb translated here as “create” is correctly translated, and means to create ex nihilo. “Bara”. Same verb used in Gen 1:1.

    Just to be clear, the darkness and the waters were already present in Gen 1:2, BEFORE day 1 even took place. The only creative activity of day 1 is the formation of light by his words, “Let there be light”, and there was light.

    So if you take the passage univocally, God doesn’t create darkness. In fact, he didn’t create all things, but formed things out of darkness and water. There is no ex nihilo creation in the univocal view.

    Good luck Paul. I hope you can answer this one.

    Actually, that’s a lie. In truth, I hope you say, “Dang. Tell me more about this analogical business. I want to believe in creation ex nihilo, so I guess I’ll have to give up my univocal view of the text.”

    I kind of doubt you will, but a guy can hope, right?

    Here’s a question that may make you smile: would Echo ever have the gumption to say such things on the floor of the presbytery? Probably not.

    E

  15. Echo,

    I know what an analogy is.

    You take day to be non-literal.

    You take man and animal to be literal, same with water et al.

    As much as your tome side stepped the issue, you’ve not got any where close to answering my question.

    You don’t take “day” to be an actual, historical 24 hour day.

    You do take “man” to be an actual, historical genetical human.

    Given that I study philosophy probably more so than you do, especially issues related to the philosophy of religion and apologetics, I am well versed in the various doctrines of analogy. So, no need for the lesson.

    Continuing…

    So when you ask which words exactly should be analogously understood, and which ones should be taken literally, you’re asking the wrong question of my view. It is not the case that I take everything literally except for the word “day”. No, the passage as a whole is an analogy. The word “day” is not stripped of all meaning any more than the other words in the passage are stripped of meaning.

    Understand and irrelevant.

    I never said that you thought the word “day” had no meaning.

    You have been arguing, though, that “day” in Gen 1 should *not* be assumed to have the meaning that “day” has *elsewhere* in the Mosaic corpus when attended with an ordinal and morning and evening and set with the parameters as argued, for instance, in the Hasel paper.

    Okay, should “man” be taken to assume the same meaning as “man, in, say Genesis 4:1?

    Should “fish” in Genesis 1 be taken to have the same meaning as, say, “fish” in Exodus 7:21

    Same with “bird”, “water”, etc., etc.

    You have argued that I cannot take the “days” in Genesis 1 to have the same meaning as the “days” in the rest of Moses’ corpus (with the built in qualifiers).

    So, I have simply asked you about the other terms.

    You have massively missed this point in your haste to give me an introduction to Godfrey’s book.

    Your numbered points are largely assertions and you’re simply arguing against a straw man.

    You argue, for instance, that if I take “day” to be a literal, 24 hour day, then I must take God’s speech as coming from an actual mouth (but it doesn’t say “mouth” and I believe speech could come forward without a mouth or physical body (“this is my son, with whom I am well pleased), anyway…let’s not get side tracked). This is a ridiculous straw man.

    This simply shows the depth of your unfamiliarity with the 6 day view.

    Unlike you, I can actually give an argument for why I take one to be literal and not another. The analogy of faith. Comparing scripture with scripture. I know that the triune God does not have a body, for example.

    All of these things, when taken together, along with a host of other reasons that I have elucidated before ad naseum, add up to one simple conclusion: the passage cannot be taken univocally, but must be taken analogically. Unless of course you want to say that the text has no meaning and should be taken equivocally, but then you wouldn’t even believe that what the Bible says is true anymore.

    But I don’t take the passage “univocally.” You’re arguing against your uncharitable caricature of 6-dayers that you espouse here ad nauseum. You “dumb, simplistic fundy” caricature.

    Now, let anyone and everyone take note that I have, again, answered your post while you have simply dodged and avoided mine.

    I have consistently and constantly put up arguments and exegesis. You have consistently and constantly read the text according to a tradition. According to a priori categories. You have always and everywhere dismissed my arguments on the basis of your misunderstanding of my view.

    I understand the need to follow your profs in a lock step way. This happens all the time. Better grades, better recommendations, approval…whatever.

    This is all fine and perhaps acceptable. But you’re simply not engaging the arguments I’ve been laying out, both positive and negative, in anything that could be viewed as a substantive rejoinder to my posts.

    I listed, furthermore, some *arguments* against your analogical view. You simply failed to address them.

    I also told you the correct view of analogy (the specific theologic-philosophic expression), as handed down by Bavinck, Vos, Van Til, etc.

    This applies to *God*. The reason is because of his sui generis nature. The Creator/creature distinction. The metaphysical *difference* between our being and his.

    So, since you have totally failed to interact with my critique; indeed, you even demonstrated that you didn’t grasp my argument(s), then all I can do, at this point, is refer you to my post which your lengthy response didn’t so much as begin to answer, straw men caricatures aside.

    Oh, let me make sure to address your question:

    I’ll make it very simple for you. Tell me how your interpretation of Gen 1 can be reconciled to Isa 45, where God claims that he creates darkness. In other words, prove from your univocal interpretation of Gen 1 the truth of the proposition:

    i) I don’t have a “univocal” view, simplistic caricatures aside.

    ii) Isa. 45 is not in the same genre as Gen. 1.

    iii) This verse is one of the most contested verses in the Bible. Subject to numerous scholarly articles.

    Prove that from Gen 1. If you can, and still hold to your univocal interpretation, then I’ll be shocked, and you will have proven that your view doesn’t destroy creation ex nihilo.

    i) There are actually roughly 4 views on Gen. 1:1. You’re basing your argument of one particular view.

    ii) Yourargument rests upon the “temporal sense” view. I do not hold that view. Thus I fully sidestep your argument (indeed, it asppears you’re unaware of all of this).

    iii) Wenham provides a good overview against this view (cf. his commentary on Gen. 1-15.

    iv) I don’t get creation ex nihilo *only* from Gen. 1, anyway (though it’s there, cf (iii)). For this cf. _Creation Out of Nothing: A Biblical, Philosophical, and Scientific Exploration_, by Copan and Craig (not young earthers!).

    So, see that book and tell me why I can’t use those arguments in there.

    v) Thus, not only have your massively simplified my position (I do not recognize your caricature, and your profs tell you that when you critique someone they should recognize their position in your work, don’t they?). You have also not shown how I can’t believe in creation ex nihilo. Indeed, your very assertion tells me that this is an issue you have not studied up on.

    So, you’ve fired your main weapon, it was a dud.

    As I’ve said before, I can’t keep you fro believing your view, but let’s not pretend that it is believed on the basis of stellar exegetical arguments and knock-down negative arguments against the other side.

    Blessings!

    Paul

  16. Speaking of creation ex-nihilo….

    That necessarily admits of the appearance of age view.

    The moment God created something ex-nihilo, all the brainy “scientists” would tell you that it had been here for quite some time.

    What, does Rube believe that the very first molecule (or whatever) was all new and shiny?! :-D lol

  17. RubeRad: At this point, the editor/translator apologizes for Calvin’s backwardness with the footnote: “The reader will be in no danger of being misled by the defective natural philosophy of the age in which this was written.”

    Might Calvin’s employment of the Greek quadrivium in his theology reflect on current OEC efforts to employ Big Bang theory in their own theology?

    What need of a footnote if, truly, no danger of being misled existed?

    Some OECers repeat the mantra that astronomical evidence supports the Big Bang model predicted by Scripture. I wonder about damage to their testimony should that model be overturned (have fun with that). It wasn’t that long ago (2004) that 34 scientists published an open letter in New Scientist questioning the Big Bang model — not for religious reasons, only natural observations and the establishment’s blockade against open inquiry.

  18. Paul,

    You and I aren’t even speaking the same language.

    E

  19. Echo,

    Koona t’chuta Solo?

    Soong peetch alay.

    Jabba won neechee kochba mu shanee wy tonny wya uska.

    -Paul

  20. Now, about them new, shiny molecules . . .

  21. Greedo: Koona t’chuta Solo? Soong peetch alay. Jabba won neechee kochba mu shanee wy tonny wya uska.

    Sad to say, I recognize the quote.

    Sadder to say, I actually checked Google Language Tools in the hope that Huttese had been added. Nope — you must have cut and paste that from some script somewhere. (Either that, or your kung fu is much, much better than mine.)

  22. Bib Fortuna: Day wonna wonga?

    C-3PO: Oh my. Dee wonna wygo.

  23. Luke: I grew up here, you know.

    Han: You’re going to die here, you know.

  24. […] have been arguing about (being from an age that still thought in terms of the classical elements of fire, earth, air, water).  And if Christ’s presence doesn’t mean “having mass,” […]

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