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February 11, 2008



These posts just keep getting better. It’s amazing how many subjects (economics, politics, science…) where we can look to the Bible for a Christian worldview perspective. Thanks!


But a hippo doesn't have a tail the size of a tree. And if it were a hippo, the writer could have described more than the underbelly of the beast.


...I know, I know, "Don't add anything to what the Scriptures say." But it's like you said about the word "virgin" in Isaiah, that it could mean "girl who got pregnant the first time she had sex," but how is that a significant prophecy, that a girl who got pregnant through her first time would be carrying the Messiah? In the same way, how is the description of a hippo significant? Because there aren't a lot of animal descriptions in the Bible...why is this animal significant?


Has anyone else read "The Language of God" by Francis Collins? Doug Matthews mentioned this guy in his recent interview with LW, and I find Dr. Collins to be a fascinating and admirable person - something I reserve for only a handful of people. The book is a very easy read and I highly highly highly recommend it.

Jim: I have discussed this book briefly with Austin (Light-work Jr. ?) and he had not heard of it, but I was wondering if you had. If you have not read it, may I suggest (/beg/insist) that you do when you get some free time? I found it thoroughly enjoyable and couldn't really put it down. I gave a copy to my dad and he enjoyed it a lot as well. The reason I bring it up is that much of the book deals with reconciling Genesis with science. I would absolutely love to hear your response to it, as it has given me a LOT to think about.

Alex Marshall

First off, let me just say I'm not committed to the "epoch" interpretation of the days in Genesis one or a 24-hour interpretation. I don't see that issue really having a lot of doctrinal impact on the rest of scripture as long as we agree that God created everything.

Essentially, I don't see authorial intent really being about the mechanics of creation. The rhythmic structure of every day and the almost poetic form of the passage suggests to me the author has a much more literary intention. This makes sense given he wasn't there to see creation and doesn't use the typical Old Testament form of "Thus says the Lord" to indicate he's receiving this account directly from God. So basically, what he's writing seems, on a literary level, to be much more focussed on highlighting some key themes rather than discussing the mechanics or process of creation. Chiefly, I think the themes are God's being the creator, a special emphasis on the creation of man, and the perfect order found on the seventh day when all the work of creation was completed. Time period doesn't seem to be a major emphasis (it seems more to be just part of the structure with which the author built the account). So that being said, it doesn't seem that a literal 24-hour interpretation is necessary to the passage or even what the author intended for the passage. Obviously, a lot more argument can be made on both sides of that debate, but that is a starting point in the reasoning for me.

Switching gears... I found the question about the difference between theory and truth interesting. It appears to me that in most sciences there is no such thing as "proof" in the sense a lot of people like to think of it (the exception to this is mathematics). Nothing can really ever be proven in science with absolute, 100% certainty. This is because science is based on observation. Observations are made, a theory is given to explain them, that theory has implications or predictions that are tested, and it is then either accepted, scrapped, or revised and the process repeats. So to accept something as "truth" in a science is usually to mean it is the most plausible theory. In other words, given all the data we have, it is the theory that is most likely true. But it will never be certain that it is absolutely true.


I'm not necessarily concerned about the debate between Christian scholars about the creation timeframe. What does bother me is that those who are militant against Christians and creation (aka "The type of person I'm inclined to witness to...why do I bang my head against THAT wall? :)") point to that argument as a basis to reject the Bible as a historical document and even more as the Word of God.


Is it not possible that instead of a hippo, that the word "tannin (H8577) translated in KJ as "monster, dragon, serpents" as well as the leviathan (H3882, liwyatan) were just different types of dinosaurs? See http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v19/i4/seamonsters.asp

Doug Matthews

The book by F. Collins is an interesting good read. My opinion is he is unfair to Intelligent Design in the book and I'm not strongly convinced of his Logos creation (essentially theistic evolution without the baggage of the name) but it is worth reading and discussion.

Jim, one thing I'm interested in your opinion on. I agree (which isn't worth that much) that the wording and internal consistency within Scripture supports the idea of a set of 6 24 hour creation days. I've been listening to Bruce Walkte and he contends that Genesis 1:1 begins a creation account that involves man but doesn't cover an initial creation which includes those of angels for example. Hence the chaos of creation in 1:2 and 1:3 (where the Bible begins its story of our creation) is the result of Satan's rebellion. As such one might argue that the reconcillation of science and Scripture dating comes from the notion matter existed prior to 1:1 and is therefore older.

In your opinion does this arguement hold any water (either above or below, ha just a little witty comment)


Doug, do you mind if I respond? Too bad, I'm going to anyway :D

The way I've always understood it, the Bible is the story of the Earth, from beginning (Genesis) to end (Revelation) and that, because of that central focus, we're not even told about anything else but Earth and who effects the Earth. And anything that isn't part of that (creation of Angels, life in outer space?, etc) isn't part of the story, so to speak.

Jim Fleming

There are enough comments here to warrant a few additional posts, so check out upcoming posts titled "A Tale of Two Buses" and "All in a Day's Work" (2 parts).

Here are a few specific comments to a question I won't cover in subsequent posts. Yes, it is possible that Behemoth and Leviathan are descriptors used of creatures now extinct, including some type of "pre-historic" creatures. But we cannot be certain what we are dealing with. This much we can say, both of these creatures were available for examination and study by Job who lived in the Middle East about two millennia before Christ.

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