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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hermeneutical Challenges and other Exegetical Jedi Mind Tricks

Jamin Hubner's orthodoxy is being assailed. He writes,

Apparently, if you admit the fact that A) hermeneutical challenges exist in Genesis and B) the age of the earth might be old, you’re a card-carrying naturalist philosopher and a full-blown critic of Scriptural inerrancy and perspicuity, no questions asked. Questioning the age of the earth and pointing out the unique features in the historical narrative of Genesis 1 is paramount to selling your soul to Darwin (or worse). Doesn’t matter if you believe Genesis 1 is historically reliable. Doesn’t matter if you subscribe to the Chicago Statement on Biblical inerrancy. Doesn’t matter if you’ve critiqued theistic evolution for over a year. Doesn’t matter if you believe in the Westminster Confession or London Baptist Confession of Faith with regards to the world being made “in the space of 6 days.” Doesn’t matter if believe Adam and Eve were really the first human beings. Doesn’t matter if you think man was made less than 15,000 years ago. You are damaging the Christian faith and are a hindrance to the truth. Who would have thought?

Indeed. Who would have thought such an inconsistency -- extreme disconnect, to be exact -- between the historical Genesis record as it supposedly relates to the inerrancy of Scripture would throw anyone's orthodoxy into total higgledy-piggledy.

Yet, according to Jamin, there are "hermeneutical challenges" and "unique features" in the Genesis account. Really?

The phrases "hermeneutical challenges" and "unique features" are the clever use of those exegetical Jedi mind tricks I was mentioning previously. There is no textual warrant to conclude "hermeneutical challenges" and "unique features" exist in the opening chapter of Genesis. In fact, the text is rather easy to translate and quite straightforward as to what it says. First year Hebrew students are usually given the assignment to translate the first chapter because of the simplicity of the language. Thus, any challenges and uniqueness said to be in the first chapters of Genesis are contrived.

There is a reason why "scholars" have to appeal to imaginative linguistic gimmicks with the text of Genesis: Christian scholars have capitulated the biblical record of origins to the evolutionary, deep time constructs taught by the secular, scientific community. What we have here with all of these various interpretations from the creation week is a rescue attempt by men to save God from the embarrassment of His own revelation. God is seriously making Himself look foolish in the eyes of the academic community.

But, engaging in any face saving effort on behalf of God has serious ramifications to one's overall theology -- yea, verily, the application of one's presuppositional apologetic methodology -- and Jamin, either from the lack of study, or overall maturity, doesn't see it.

Let me break down his paragraph:

Doesn’t matter if you believe Genesis 1 is historically reliable. Okay. Let's grant your conviction. Historical reliability implies Genesis 1 imparts historically reliable information. According to the language of the text, God created in 6, ordinary days, one revolution of the earth, evening and morning, sunrise to sunrise. As the book of Genesis unfolds, God tells us how long people lived, who their offspring were, how long they lived, etc., so that a person reading the Bible can piece together the genealogical record and get a fairly close reading as to how old the biblical revelation says the earth is.

Is Jamin saying he believes this? At this point, in the manner that he is defending himself, I can only say his conviction is disingenuous, because all I have read from him is that there are five different views of how we could possibly understand Genesis and pretty much all of them only deal with the theology of Genesis 1, not the history. That's like dealing with only the theology of Christ's death and Resurrection, while by-passing the historical reality of His three year ministry in Israel.

Doesn’t matter if you subscribe to the Chicago Statement on Biblical inerrancy. If one does subscribe to the CSBI, but thinks it accommodates deep time, old earth creationism, one is basically being inconsistent. To remind the reader as to what the CSBI says on this matter,

We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.

We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.

Note the last sentence. The writers are denying that the scientific hypotheses (read here, deep time beliefs) about earth's history may be used to overturn (read here, reinterpret using exegetical Jedi mind tricks) the teaching of what the Bible says about creation and the flood. In other words, the old earth creationists Jamin wishes to accommodate, do not line up under what the CSBI expressly affirms and denies. Because being an OEC who believes in billions of years clearly overturns what the Genesis record so plainly says about creation, the flood, and the history of the world.

Doesn’t matter if you’ve critiqued theistic evolution for over a year. No. It does matter. Because as much as your garden variety OEC insists he is an entirely different sprout distinct from theistic evolutionists, both hold one thing in common: young earth creationists are wrong about Genesis chapter 1 and the history of the world.

Doesn’t matter if you believe in the Westminster Confession or London Baptist Confession of Faith with regards to the world being made “in the space of 6 days.” If Jamin insists on affirming the WCF and the LBCF, it does matter how they define the phrase "space of 6 days." If we understand what the framers of those confessions believe, none of those alleged five interpretative views of Genesis 1 are welcome among them.

Doesn’t matter if [sic] believe Adam and Eve were really the first human beings. One may believe this, but Adam and Eve were also historical people, not just theological concepts. "First human beings" indicates historical matters. Real, flesh and blood people who lived and died, and more importantly, we are told how old Adam was when he died. If one believes Adam and Eve were really the first human beings, one also has to believe they lived in space and time and history. So the question is: Does Jamin believe that history was real and happened just the way Genesis 1 describes how it happened?

Doesn’t matter if you think man was made less than 15,000 years ago. It does matter if one wants to accommodate B.B. Warfield, Meridith Kline, and the late, great James Boice, because the old earth views they adhere to flatly contradict the idea that man was made "less than 15,000 years ago." I would argue their old earth views flatly contradict what the Bible says about the age of the creation to begin with, but to say they are inconsistent and are compromising the teaching of Scripture some how violates some academic code I am unaware of.

You are damaging the Christian faith and are a hindrance to the truth. Who would have thought? Apparently, Jamin didn't. It's quite simple: Jamin claims to be presuppositional in his apologetic methodology. He is suppose to begin and end with God's revelation in Scripture. Meaning he is suppose to begin with the Bible and build his Christian theology and worldview upon the proper exegesis of the text, apart from outside "evidences" governing the interpretation of the biblical text, but I don's see him doing such in the case of Genesis 1.

Jamin has not demonstrated by any stretch that I am to read Genesis 1 as anything other than straightforward history. Genesis 1 is not apocalyptic genre, or primeval history, or some other kind of theological prose that allows me the freedom to mold its meaning so as to teach something entirely different than God created the world in the space of 6 days around 6,000 years ago. It is just inconsistent to accommodate deep time views of earth's history when this position is so radically different than what the Bible teaches. This is inconsistency at its worse.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Hi Fred,

I think you and Mr. Hubner agree on far more than on what you disagree.

11:25 AM, October 11, 2010  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

We probably do...
Except the application of hermeneutics, which of course would impact our individual views of eschatology.

11:31 AM, October 11, 2010  
Blogger MSC said...

You couldn't have stated the core issue more clearly. Yet, I get the feeling we could talk with this level of clarity until we are blue in the face and OEC's will still try to wiggle their way out of reality.

5:11 PM, October 11, 2010  
Blogger JD Walters said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:12 PM, October 12, 2010  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

I expect such a response from you JD, seeing that you have pretty much abandoned the major doctrines of biblical Christianity and believe the Bible is fairly worthless as a divine revelation as Steve Hays has demonstrated

4:23 PM, October 12, 2010  
Blogger JD Walters said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:37 PM, October 12, 2010  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

JD, the empirical evidence has been engaged. You don't like our interpretations and conclusions.

...and as a Christian, according to Scripture, I have to shame and exclude heretics and apostates.

5:00 PM, October 12, 2010  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Way to go JD, delete your comments. Keep on running from the truth.

7:14 AM, October 13, 2010  

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