Friday, June 8, 2007

Biblical Cosmologies, Part 3: Pentateuchal Portraits – Genesis 1b


An essential aspect of exegesis is recognition of a text’s sitz im leben. Sitz im leben can be loosely defined as “context.” The term is German for “situation in life” or “life setting.” In exegetical endeavors the modern reader of ancient texts is apt to read modern-day questions, issues, perspectives, etc. into the text. A reading that retrojects modern-day exigencies into an ancient text is eisegesis—interpretation reflective of the reader’s own ideas or biases rather than true to the authentic reading of the text. Eisegetical readings abuse texts by stealing or covering up the meanings most authentic to an ancient text.

Disciplined consideration for a text’s sitz im leben is one means through which the modern-day reader can avoid abusing the text. Attempts to construct scientific ideas on the basis of Genesis 1 are certainly eisegetical abuses. Such uses of Genesis exhibit little or no consideration for its sitz im leben and hence for how the ancient Hebrew reader would have understood the text. Additionally, through eisegetical excess, such scientific ideas are not based on the text itself; rather, they are based on a select, idiosyncratic, highly-contingent *interpretation* of the text. Through jettisoning an authentic sitz im leben, such readings are guilty of eisegesis.

Genesis 1 is composed in the rhetoric of soft polemical diatribe. It is written against the backdrop of antecedent polytheistic cosmogonies. The exigency of the composer was not that of 21st century Creationism in any of its flavors. Rather, the composer sought to provide a morally and religiously monotheistic, non-idolatrous reworking of existing myths for the desired goal of religious purity and functional etiology. To posit any other goal is to eisegetically abuse the text in the interest of modern exigencies.

Genesis 1:6-8

ו וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, יְהִי רָקִיעַ בְּתוֹךְ הַמָּיִם, וִיהִי מַבְדִּיל, בֵּין מַיִם לָמָיִם.
ז וַיַּעַשׂ אֱלֹהִים, אֶת-הָרָקִיעַ, וַיַּבְדֵּל בֵּין הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר מִתַּחַת לָרָקִיעַ, וּבֵין הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר מֵעַל לָרָקִיעַ; וַיְהִי-כֵן.
ח וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים לָרָקִיעַ, שָׁמָיִם; וַיְהִי-עֶרֶב וַיְהִי-בֹקֶר, יוֹם שֵׁנִי.



6 And spoke Elohim, let there be firmament-rakia in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.
7 And made Elohim the firmament-rakia to divide between the waters from below the firmmanet-rakia and between the waters which [were] from above the firmmanet-rakia—and it was so.
8 And called Elohim to the firmament-rakia, “heavens.” And there was evening and there was breaking, day two.

The reader will recall that the ancient Sumerian-Babylonian cosmology, like that in Genesis 1, began with the victory of the hero-god over the waters of chaos depicted in the dragon Tiamat. The hero-god of the Sumerian-Babylonian cosmology divides the dragon of chaos in two. Each half is used to hold water-symbolic of primordial chaos-at bay. Likewise, in Genesis, Elohim gains victory over the primordial waters, no doubt through an unmentioned combat with the watery chaos dragon. Such a combat is not specifically mentioned in this text, though other biblical portraits of creation do depict such a combat. Consider Psalm 74:12-14 for an example:

"You divided the sea by your strength; by your power you cleaved the sea-monster in two, and broke the dragon's heads above the waters; you crushed the many-headed Leviathan…"

Through conspicuous refusal to mention the dragon deity (other than the reference to T’hom-Tiamat in vs. 2), the author of Genesis 1 realizes that the reader, in her sitz im leben, is more than likely familiar with antecedent cosmologies. As a result, the author assumes that the reader will inject her meanings into the hegemony that Elohim gains over the waters.

With new-found hegemony over the original aqueous chaos, Elohim divides the waters. In so dividing the waters, the text specifies the purpose for the firmament-rakia: to hold the waters (chaos) in place. The author identifies the localities of the waters: above the firmament-rakia and below the same. To the ancient reader the hegemony of Elohim over chaos is described through the construal of the firmament-rakia. This same reader understood the firmament-rakia as a solid structure that vaulted the observed heavens.

Verse eight identifies the firmament-rakia as heavens-shamayim. In so doing, the author and reader understand that the solid structure of the firmament-rakia is also called heavens-shamayim. It is unnecessary and eisegetical to read modern ideas of heavens as “open space” into this passage.

21 comments:

Daniel said...

Defining the terms of Debate


Since Evolutionists cannot win a fair debate, they often resort to tying to define the terms and conditions of the debate so that they will win. The attempt by Peter to define allowed interpretations of scientifically relevant material in the Scripture by the situation in life of the ancients is merely an attempt to define the conditions of interpretation. We expect divine revelation to be accurate and true. We do not always expect it to be understood perfectly by the first audience. Scripture is full of prophesied statements and other revelations that are not fully understood. This is because scripture is revelatory in nature and reveals realities with which people are not familiar.
In fact, to claim full understanding of the text is merely to put faith in ones own intellect rather than God. What is at stake is that we should believe the words of God as best we understand them. For this it is only necessary to see that there is no contradiction between reality and His word, and the biblical thinker makes a habit of checking what is allowed by the word so that his assumptions do not contradict it.
The definition of "eisegesis" is reading an assumption into the text that contradicts the Scripture. It is not merely making an assumption. If it were merely making an assumption then everyone would be guilty of "eisegesis".
The truth is that any hypothesis that does not contradict the text or scientific reality is allowed by the text. Scripture sets boundaries, but within the boundaries it does not restrict our thinking.
When reading evolutionary writings one should be aware of the tendency to use big words. The reason for this, is that it makes the user look professional and scholarly. Often, however, when translated into simpler English, there is no argument. It's all thesis, a string of claims without evidence of their truth. So it is with Peter's latest post.
His statement "Genesis 1 is composed in the rhetoric of soft polemical diatribe. It is written against the backdrop of antecedent polytheistic cosmogonies" is merely one of his zillion restatements of his opinion. It does not add anything to the argument. We already know his opinion. We should also point out that by His definition of "eisegesis" he is committing the fallacy of reading into the text. It is an assumption that Genesis 1 is "rhetoric" and "polemical diatribe". It also violates the situation in life of the original audience as they would never think of describing Genesis 1 in such derogatory terms.
The Goal of Genesis 1 transcended the need of the first audience. This is because it is divine revelation. This is because at the time of Moses, God was looking forward to future generations.
Peter then quotes Genesis 1:6-8. He puts "firmament-rakia" for RAQIA. The RAQIA is the HEAVENS. Furthermore, the heavenly bodies move "IN" the RAQIA. If the RAQIA is firm in the way Peter wants it to be "firm" then nothing can move in the Heavens. The sun and moon move relative to each other, and so also the planets. The "firmness' then is like string theory. It is not literal in the usual sense of the word, but like "string" in "string theory" it is a metaphor for a deeper scientific reality.
What Peter is really up to is to try to claim that RAQIA can only mean what he says it must mean so that he can involve Genesis 1 in a self-contradiction, or in a contradiction of discovered science. By assuming that RAQIA must be taken in his way he is engaging in "eisegeis" – reading an assumption into the text contrary to the context.

PeterS said...

Hello Daniel,

I do not consider Genesis to be in self contradiction. The picture of firmament-rakia in Genesis is consistent with itself and is consistent with the ancient near-eastern models of the cosmos.

In simple terms: We must learn to read the Genesis 1 creation story not as 21st century Westerners but as the ancient Hebrews read it. This is not on unreasonable expectation. If there are meanings beyond what the initial recipients would have recognized, great! I am okay with multiple levels of meaning--meanings even that may have not been obvious to the original authors. However, the existence of multiple layers of meaning does not negate the need for objective awareness of perspective and context. Hence, an appropriate exegesis will begin with balanced consideration for sitz im leben. Only after exhausting all available exegetical means can the modern reader then seek new levels of meaning.

The Bible is a collection of historically-contingent writings. The Bible is not a collection of timeless books. All of the wittings in the Bible were written by historical personages who lived in unique settings while being faced with dilemmas (or exigencies) unique to their own time. Failure to grasp the importance of historical context is one of the great errors of the Muslim puritans who decontextualize pet passages from the Qur'an to misapply them today. Such a failure is an error common to all forms of fundamentalism. The Creationist abuse of Genesis as the basis for Deluge geology and other such fictional, other-worldly ideas is another example of failure to contextualize the holy book.

While it may seem that I am setting parameters in my favor, the reality is that we are taking different hermeneutical approaches. I am defining my approach. My approach asks the question: "What did this mean to the original reader?" Your approach asks the question: "What does this passage mean [to me]?" The difference with the later approach is that the referent is not explicitly defined. I added the "to me" in brackets to illustrate that the referent is the modern reader. The referent in the former approach is the historical reader whose mind is plummeted through recognition of historical context and sitz im leben.

I have yet to deal with all of the references to firmament-rakia in Genesis 1. This will come. I hope o deal with the movement of the heavenly bodies in the firmament-rakia.

In general, it is unwise to generalize the thinking or modalities of another party with a stereotypical term such as "Evolutionists." I am not an evolutionist. I believe that natural evolution readily accounts for the observed data from the natural world; yet, I do not believe that the theory of evolution is the solution to all questions. Questions related to purpose, for example, can only be answered in a functional though dysteleological sense when viewed through the theory of evolution. An evolutionist is a person that considers the theory of evolution the solution to all questions. Defined as such, I am not an evolutionist. I am a theist, and I consider myself a believer in theonomic creation.

Daniel said...

I sure that you would not be willing to take this principle to its logical extreme. The ancients believe the world was created in six days. They believed that this is what the text teaches. Are you willing to abide by their interpretation? I think not.
Since the bible is divine revelation and not written by men, but by God, one has to put themselves into the shoes of the author to obtain full understanding. This is impossible. The original audience did not actually write the text, so we cannot expect the text to reflect only their human point of view and their scientific understanding. The bible contains many things whose scientific basis was not understood until later.
In any case you are not following your own rule. The Scripture defines RAQIA as the HEAVENS, and if you will look at the usage of HEAVENS, you will see that it is not limited to some type of spherical shell over the earth. Scientific terms are often common terms applied metaphorically to deeper scientific realities. You have still not responded to why "String" Theory is called "String" theory. RAQIA is like this. It is a term that is being applied metaphorically, and the ancients would have understood and allowed for such usage after the self definition of the text "Heavens" because they did not understand the "Heavens" as an earthly solid object, but as a domain in which the birds, clouds, sun, moon, and stars could move on their courses. If the metaphor was sometimes understood in a scientifically inaccurate manner, then this is not God's fault. God knew what he meant by the language.
It is still possible that if there is a more familiar solid aspect to the RAQIA that it is at the edge of the universe forming the boundary below the waters above. It is also still possible that there is a sub-atomic "solidness" to space as proposed by Dr. Buow. If God had this in mind, then the usage of the term is even more appropriate, but it is still metaphorical. The key to the text is what God meant, not what a human writer put. The author was not human, but God who knows all about modern science, and who writes from a point of view way beyond modern science. Have you ever considered the situation in life of God! I think not.
If some type of solidness is to be attributed to the heavens, then until science discovers it, those who understand the metaphor that way ought to believe what God said, even if unverified at the present. The alternative is to put your own ego and intellect on the throne and to assert that you know more than God.
What is different about the Bible is the sitz im leben of God himself. For it is not sitz im leben of a mere human author. You use big words in ways that many people do not understand Peter. You do it to impress people with your knowledge. Well, I think that you ought to allow God equal weights and measures. God is allowed to use words in ways that people may not fully understand.
The bible is historical, but it is also not bound into just one time, because One God wrote it. All its themes have an underlying unity. The approach should be what did it mean to the God who wrote it, and this must allow for the perspectives of both the writer and the audience. When the text is talking about a scene clearly beyond the experience of the audience, then the question of what did the author mean becomes much more important, and can only be fully determined by a scientific examination of the scene of the writers narrative. In the case of RAQIA, a full exploration of the heavens, and examination of its substructure would be required.
Let's not quibble over words Peter. You believe in nothing except the fancies of your own intellect at the moment. If you cannot be pinned down into a position, then it is useless to discuss with you. Words like "theonomic creation" are meaningless since you do not believe in the Bible. The bible is God's source of divinely revealed absolutes. Without it as a starting point, man is lost and unable to draw the right conclusions about God. The evidence of your disbelief in it comes out in your moral choices.
The bible contains its own self-verification of absolute truth. It is the only revelation that makes consistently accurate prophetic predictions that come true. It is chronologically consistent. It is morally unified, and God's redemption of man follows the same program throughout.

PeterS said...

Hello Daniel:

The biblical authors present a high degree of consistency in their cosmological models. Continued exploration of this topic in the biblical texts will further demonstrate the lack of grounding that Bouw, et. al.'s "firmament" has in the ancient texts.

My use of "big words" is reflective of the degree of exposure that I have to disciplined , peer-reviewed research. I assume a certain degree of knowledge on the part of my readers. I am dealing with topics that are abstract and difficult to grasp. If the reader cannot understand my wording, he or she can ask for clarification or become more familiar with the professional jargon.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

Thank you for offering to define terms for me. I am doing the best I can with online dictionaries, but am still uncertain of several of your “big words.” Below are the best definitions I can find. Feel free to correct my misunderstandings of your phraseology or intent.

Daat-erwat: shameful knowledge?

Theonomic creation....?

Theonomy:

"There is no alternative but that of theonomy and autonomy."

Cornelius Van Til

The issue . . . is between theonomy (God's Law) and autonomy (self law). Modern autonomous man is aided and abetted in his apostasy from God by the antinomianism of the church, which, by denying God's law, has, in theology, politics, education, industry, and all things else, surrendered the field to the law of the fallen and godless self, to autonomy.

Dysteleological: purposelessness (as in purposeless appendages, e.g, appendix, tonsils)

However, the application of evolution in the realm of biology and medicine has led to countless illnesses and deaths because of the irresponsible removal of so-called “useless vestigial organs” which turned out to be very useful after all as infection fighters.

Diatribe: a bitter and violent denunciation of some person or thing; a thunderous verbal attack.

I knew this word, but I am not sure what a “soft” diatribe would be. Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Leviathan:

My understanding of Leviathan differs from yours:

...similar to Loch Ness monster...Plesiasaur....huge sea creatures that continue to be caught by Japanese trawlers or wash up on shores (such as in Scituate, MA in 1970 and seen by many, including my husband.)

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi:

Daat-erwat can be translated several different ways. The translation that you propose is much more negative that I had in mind. I prefer “naked knowledge” in the sense of the exposure or laying bare (Hebrew “gilat”) of something that is otherwise not known. A clearer title might have been “gilat-daat” as this would have removed some of the negative connotations of “erwah.”

Theonomic creationism is different than theonomy. Both theonomic positions come from the cradle of the Reform Church tradition. Cornelius Van Til describes the one of the theonomic positions in the quote that you provide. Howard Van Till is a strong advocate of theonomic creationism. He applied the term “theonomy” to his brand of creationism before the term began to find popular use in the anti-antinomian branches of the Reform Church. Theonomic creationism begins with a belief in a theistic God. This God is believed to have endowed or gifted creation with a robust, functional, economy that has such an internal integrity that it developed the physical and biological complexity that it currently displays. This view of creationism allows for the process of natural evolution as a means through which God enabled creation to “give back” to God a sentient, self-conscious, self-aware, and God-aware being.

I disagree with your statement about the theory of evolution and its medical benefits. Creationism hinders progress by stressing emphasis on human ignorance and a God that occupies the shadows of ignorance. It is highly unlikely, even in a young-earth creation model, that the Japanese “plesiosaur” was anything other than a basking shark. The morphology of a decomposing basking shark results in a collapse of the extremities—leading to the preservation of a form similar to a “plesiosaur.”

There are several “dragon combat” creation portrayals in the Bible. In these passages the biblical authors use antecedent mythological cosmogonies to depict the Hebrew God as the creator. The fact that the “dragon combat” portrayals are connected with creation, the position of the waters, and the firmament further fortifies the picture of a mythological “firmament-rakia” in the Genesis 1 creation narrative.

Thank you Tandi for your honest questions and proposals.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

Thank you for clarification. You are expanding my vocabulary, and I appreciate your honesty in sharing your controversial views. I am enjoying the interchange between you, Daniel, and Andrew.

So you would disagree with this statement by Dr. Bouw?.........

The application of evolution in the field of biology and medicine has also led to much needless suffering and death. One of the evolutionists’ first “achievements” was the assignment of every organ for which they, the evolutionists, knew not the function to the realm of the vestigial. Vestigial organs were speculated to be organs which had once evolved to serve a useful function; but in time that function was no longer required as other evolutionary factors took over but the organ remained in the human or animal body anyhow. In a creationist perspective such a concept is unthinkable since God does not do or make any thing for nothing. But to the blind chance-god of evolution such useless accidents are the rule. By the last quarter of the Nineteenth Century the toll of vestigial organs in the human body numbered about two hundred.

Among the vestigial organs were the “tailbone”, tonsils, and appendix. These three were about the last for which the use was recognized in human physiology. Without the so-called “tailbone” to anchor certain muscles we would be unable to sit up, and walking would be impossible. Both the tonsils and appendix turn out to be useful in fighting infections. In fact, without either one of them, research has shown, one is about six times more likely to develop certain types of cancers than with them; but because of the prevalence of the evolutionary superstition in medicine, millions of individuals had tonsils and appendix needlessly removed because they “are just a potential source of infection and serve no useful purpose anyhow.”

Excerpt from: A Brief Introduction to the History of Evolution, Gerardus D. Bouw, Ph.D.

http://www.geocentricity.com/

Other articles by Dr. Bouw online include:

Massive Superstrings and the Firmament
A Geocentricity Primer
The Flat Earth and The Bible

Many more, including information on an upcoming conference in Houston. Would love for you and Daniel to attend. Pat and I would be willing to help with expenses, including registration fees, if you were willing to go and consider this perspective. It could only add to your knowledge base.

Any interest?

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

Vestigial organs can exist in the various young-earth creationist models as well. Vestigiality is not unique to the theory of evolution. Baraminology, as an attempt to interpret biology through a young-earth creationist framework, identifies various vestigial organs. For example, Wise considers the hip bone of whales to be vestigial evidence of a former terrestrial existence. Wise also considers the upper “toes” of horses to be vestigial remnants of a formerly three-toed ancestor. Wise is a young-earth creationist.

In stating that vestigiality exists in both frameworks, I am evidencing that it is possible to abuse the idea of vestigiality from either an old-earth or a young-earth perspective. Some of the organs that were originally considered vestigial were later discovered to have real-world functionality. Sometimes, though, the function is secondary to the evolutionary origin of an origin as evidenced through homologous existence of such organs in humans and other vertebrates (especially carnivorous mammals).

Bouw is incorrect about wastefulness in nature. Evolution is expected to produce a lot of wastefulness in the genome and the phenotype of a species. This is what we observe. The pressures of natural selection tend to widdle away superfluous genetic and phenotypic excess, but this is not always the immediate case. He is correct that the creation model might predict that there would be less wastefulness in nature than is currently observed. Unfortunately, there is an abundance of waste.

One example: an octopus lays several billion eggs; however, she will be lucky if even one of these offspring will survive to reproductive maturity. Most of the eggs and embryos are consumed by predators. A trend in nature displays a positive correlation between a higher degree maternal (or paternal) care and the number of offspring. Hence, an insect like an earwig lays only six to twelve eggs. The mother guards the eggs and the nymphs until they are ready to live independently. As many as 70% of these offspring will make it to adulthood in an undisturbed next. Higher maternal care correlates with less offspring. With the octopus, less maternal care correlates with more offspring. So, organisms with less maternal care tend to “waste” a lot of offspring to predation and unfortunate circumstances. With an octopus, the general mortality rate of pre-reproductive octopuses is generally 100% per individual brood.

I would be interested in Bouw’s seminar. I am always open to new learning. I would consider it given more information.

Daniel said...

Peter wrote:

"Continued exploration of this topic in the biblical texts will further demonstrate the lack of grounding that Bouw, et. al.'s "firmament" has in the ancient texts."

Assuming you prove your point.

"My use of "big words" is reflective of the degree of exposure that I have to disciplined,"

When you use them to keep stating your assumptions, they are a waste of time, and only tend to make your assumptions look like they have substance to them.

"peer-reviewed research"

These peers are close minded to creation.

"I assume a certain degree of knowledge on the part of my readers."

Nobody wants to wade through nothing but assumptions.

"I am dealing with topics that are abstract and difficult to grasp."

There is no abstract idea that cannot be simplified for others. And the danger is that others will believe your conclusion because of the way your argument appears without actually understanding it.

"If the reader cannot understand my wording, he or she can ask for clarification or become more familiar with the professional jargon."

In any debate, you should lower your language so that the average participant can understand your point.

Daniel said...

Peter, you wrote:

"Theonomic creationism"
So this sounds like another was of saying you want to be a progressive creationists or that you believe God used evolution to create. Why didn't you just say so?
"Creationism hinders progress by stressing emphasis on human ignorance and a God that occupies the shadows of ignorance."
This is your assumption, and an unwarranted generalization.
"It is highly unlikely, even in a young-earth creation model, that the Japanese “plesiosaur” was anything other than a basking shark."
There are many other direct fossil find disproof's of evolution. Evolutionists have a bad habit of dismissing evidence that they do not agree with. For example, footprints in the Paluxy river bed. The Hegemony of evolutionary thinking is so great that even creationists have been brainwashed into accepting criticism of their own evidence because of the onslaught of intellectual persecution. It is not often that creationists have to retract an argument, and when they do evolutionists exploit it to the moon, but evolutionists never retract anything, or let me say because of their hegemony, they never are made to pay for their mistakes.

"There are several “dragon combat” creation portrayals in the Bible."
While this may be true, you are assuming that they refer to the creation account rather than the flood or at another time.
"In these passages the biblical authors use antecedent mythological cosmogonies to depict the Hebrew God as the creator."
This is just another assumption. Mythology descends from truth.
"The fact that the “dragon combat” portrayals are connected with creation, the position of the waters, and the firmament further fortifies the picture of a mythological “firmament-rakia” in the Genesis 1 creation narrative."
'The fact that …' What makes you think the author was trying to describe creation as personal combats of mythological creatures? You simply do not understand the text.

Daniel said...

Peter wrote:

"Vestigial organs can exist in the various young-earth creationist models as well. Vestigiality is not unique to the theory of evolution."
Yes, since the world is running down, it is possible for organisms to loose the function of some organ. However, creationists never argued that this was evidence for creation. It was the evolutionists that argued it was evidence for evolution. But it is only evidence of death and decay and human ignorance of what the organs were for.
"Baraminology, as an attempt to interpret biology through a young-earth creationist framework, identifies various vestigial organs."
Once again, you slip your conclusion into the thesis, "an attempt to interpret". Anyone who reads your statements uncritically will merely be seduced into believing parts of it without thinking. I call this toxic writing. It is the abuse of language to try to deceive yourself or your readers into agreeing with some part of what you are saying.
"For example, Wise considers the hip bone of whales to be vestigial evidence of a former terrestrial existence. Wise also considers the upper “toes” of horses to be vestigial remnants of a formerly three-toed ancestor. Wise is a young-earth creationist."
But Wise's statements that you recorded here are not consistent with biblical creationism. So we don't have to accept them. Many creationists are "unwise" in what they have listened to from "evolutionists". That's because evolution and creation are at WAR. The truth is at war with the lie. And too many creationists are fooled into thinking that evolutionists will give an honest presentation of the evidence.
"In stating that vestigiality exists in both frameworks, I am evidencing that it is possible to abuse the idea of vestigiality from either an old-earth or a young-earth perspective."
Like I said, it was only evolutionists that claimed it as proof of their theory, but it is no proof since other explanations are possible. Creationists did not use it to claim proof of creation. So it is the evolutionists that have abused the evidence. Creationists are quite right to point out the stupidity of the evolutionary use of "vestigal organs". Pointing out that creationists recognize the existence of organs without apparent function does not absolve the misuse of these organs in the evolutionary argument.
"Some of the organs that were originally considered vestigial were later discovered to have real-world functionality. Sometimes, though, the function is secondary to the evolutionary origin of an origin as evidenced through homologous existence of such organs in humans and other vertebrates (especially carnivorous mammals)."
So you are still claiming that "organs without an apparent use" are evidence of evolution because similar structures are found in more than one organism. But I say that common design and common misunderstanding of certain common designs are no evidence for evolution, but only evidence of a common designer and common ignorance of those who think they know how the design got that way. If there were changes since creation, then they are all the result of preprogrammed genetics from creation or of elimination of function via death and decay from the fall. It is not evidence of evolution.

"Bouw is incorrect about wastefulness in nature. Evolution is expected to produce a lot of wastefulness in the genome and the phenotype of a species. This is what we observe."
Evolution requires a lot of wastefulness in theory. Death and decay and destruction of life unfit to live. But it is never observed to improve life. Any improvements were in the created genetic code from creation. Evolution is never a creative process.

"The pressures of natural selection tend to widdle away superfluous genetic and phenotypic excess, but this is not always the immediate case."
Natural selection eliminates part of the genome. It never creates it. Devolution only has the power to destroy, but never to create.
"He is correct that the creation model might predict that there would be less wastefulness in nature than is currently observed. Unfortunately, there is an abundance of waste."
What? Are you saying that the level of observed waste favors evolution? Nonesense. You are only assuming billions of years of waste as part of your waste measurement. That's circular reasoning. The Dr.'s comment is merely deductive reasoning from the fact of a good creation.
"One example: an octopus lays several billion eggs; however, she will be lucky if even one of these offspring will survive to reproductive maturity."
Waste by design is not really waste. God has infinite resources. Where evolution is wasteful is that it is supposed to operate without the information input of design. It has to discover its own design. What is wasteful is all of the mistaken guesses in the theoretical process of evolution. It's all the dead ends and "creatures" or things that went no where. There is of course no evidence that the evolutionary process every created any new designs. It only is capable of wrecking God's designs via "death-selection".
"Most of the eggs and embryos are consumed by predators. A trend in nature displays a positive correlation between a higher degree maternal (or paternal) care and the number of offspring. Hence, an insect like an earwig lays only six to twelve eggs."
We must be careful not to impute human values of life and death to non-humans. God has not told us what is good and what is evil about many things. But the creation was good to begin with.
"So, organisms with less maternal care tend to “waste” a lot of offspring to predation and unfortunate circumstances. With an octopus, the general mortality rate of pre-reproductive octopuses is generally 100% per individual brood."
Again, if it is good then it is by design. If it is not good then it is degenerate and not by the original design. God is the one who determines what is good and evil. The minute we start judging creation as good or evil beyond what God has stated is good and evil the quicker we will end up arguing with God.

truth said...

I thought of you Peter as I read the Torah Portion this week. (Bemidbar 16) taking note of the link between Korach and his rebels and hasatan. Korach separated himself from frellowship, rose up against Moshe, gathered others of likemind, then falsely accused leadership of false doings. In Yesh 14:12-14 we see how hasatan was the original rebel - rebelling against YHWH's rule...and as one commentary wrote, is the originator of humanism, the exaltation of man over YHWH. I see that happening here and its reality being minimized. May the fear of YHWH be restored in your heart, and may it in mine as well.
Shalom.

truth said...

Evolution Is the Religion of Humanism
Furthermore, evolution is the religion of atheism. It aims to kick YHVH off his throne as Creator and Righteous Judge of the Universe and elevate physical matter and man to that status. Matter and man are worshipped in place of YHVH. Moral law (the Word of YHWH) is abolished; the mind of man determines what is right and wrong (humanism). This very thing is shown also in Bereshith 3 - communism started in the garden when the serpent enticed man to rebel against YHWH's divine law - to exalt man to a position to be able to determine for himself what is right and what is wrong. Is this not demoncracy? i.e. 'power to the people' ... there is a heaviness on my heart for you, Peter, and It is unclear to me in this moment what more to say.

PeterS said...

Hello Truth,

The theory of evolution is capable of co-existing with a theistic worldivew. The theory does not read well with any of the concordonistic or young-earth readings of Genesis. The literary framework reading and genre-critical readings (Genesis 1 as inspired myth) both open the door to reconciliation with science though these approaches to Scripture are not comfortable for most lay readers.

I do not want to get into a debate about evolution-yet. Currently, I am plummeting the biblical texts to compose pictures of ancient Hebrew cosmologies. I will set a few items straight:

Daniel asked why I did not call myself a "progressive creationist." In this question Daniel demonsrates that he is not aware of the dramatic differences between progressive creationism and other "old-earth" schools of thought. Progressive creationism allows for an "old-earth" in which a day-age timing of the creation days transpired while God made specific creation of each animal species. This theory teaches special creationism and allows little or no room (e.g, Ross) for evolution. Theonomic creationism and theistic evolution both posit the occurence of a generally naturalistic process of evolution leading to life today.

Daniel has posted a number of points that would make a good basis for continued dialogue on this topic. I do not want to ignore these other than for the reason that I do not have the time or resources currently to research and document my position. For now, I prefer to avoid questions about evolution. I believe in natural evolution, and I consider creation science to be as backward as the myths that it is based on.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

Here is the website info on the Conference:

Announcing the 
THIRD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ABSOLUTES
To be held in Houston, Texas
July 16-18, 2007

At a time when the prevailing philosophy is that there are no absolutes, it may strike some as anachronistic that one would hold a conference on absolutes. Still, the Holy Scripture is absolute, God is absolute, and the statement "There are no absolutes" is, itself, an absolute. Indeed, each event, idea, and object is absolute when put in its proper perspective in the universe.

Of all the sciences, the Holy Bible has more to say about astronomy than any other. The Scripture speaks of the sun, moon, stars, the host of heaven, planets, and constellations. It talks about the heavens, the firmament, and tells us that the lights in the sky were made for the earth, for man, to give light by day and by night, to serve as signs, and to determine the seasons. The ancients, particularly the Jews, claim Adam as the first astronomer. They number Seth, Enoch, Shem, and Abraham among the greatest ancient astronomers. Major astronomical themes occur in Genesis, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, Job, Psalms, Amos, Luke, Hebrews, 1 & 2 Peter, Jude, and Revelation....

http://www.geocentricity.com/

Tandi said...

Hello Peter and Daniel,

I wrote to Dr. Bouw. He remembered me!

Excerpt from his response to my email.....

Insofar as the conference goes, registration can still occur at the door. The registration table will be open an hour before the sessions start. Starting times are at 9:00 and 2:00 with a 2-hour break for lunch. There are no formal evening sessions. I have to make some changes to the web site, adding a new speaker and adding some topics.

A session that Peter and Daniel may find particularly interesting is one on cosmological sheets. It gives some insight into how the future passes through the present to the past and also how the firmament records every event in minute detail on those sheets. It also relates to how we store and retrieve information in the brain.

The claim to be an "Agnostic theist and freethinker" is to claim one knows nothing yet to know God (it follows that God is a member of the null set, agnostic), yet to be omniscient (the practical claim of a freethinker). It is an oxymoron, like the claim so common these days in practice if not in voice, that all things are relative, there are no absolutes.

My cosmological insights all start with God. Other cosmologists start with the assumption that there is no God and get trapped in the particle zoo, unable to look into the Planck medium, that is, the firmament.

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

I am interested in this conference, but practical concerns will prevent me from going. I have read over material on the egocentricity website, and I honestly find most of the material comical. In fact, I might even think that the entire site was fictional satire if I had encountered it apart from previous information.

Yes, I changed the “geocentricity" to “egocentricity” intentionally. I did this for two reasons. First, the biblical, anthropocentric (egocentric) view of the cosmos is at the root of many current-day eco-evils. Such anthropocentricity (egocentricity) may have had value in the past, but it is a meme that has passed its course and holds potential for the extinction of man and of the biosphere. This meme must pass its course, bending the knee to a biocentricity—a new basis for modern morality.

Second, I am making fun of the geocentric model of the universe. Because of relativity, it is possible to frame the Earth as the center of the solar system. The resulting model is very complicated—not one to survive Ockham’s edge. However, it is possible to frame the Earth as the center of the solar system and the universe. This said I must state that it is also possible to frame all physical motion so that the person writing this post is the center of the universe. In fact, I will call this model egocentricity. I am the center of the universe and all bodies in motion orbit around me. Yes, this is egocentricity.

How, then, does one evaluate my model (egocentricity) against geocentricity? Assuming that all models begin with equal weight, it is best to review the merits of each model by assessing how much of the observed data the models explain and how many assumptions they make. My model (egocentricity) will make more assumptions than geocentricity, so the pragmatist rejects the egocentric model. Well, the geocentric model makes more assumptions than the heliocentric model. So, the pragmatist rejects the geocentric model.

I am having a little too much fun with egocentricity. Please do not read too much into this. I am simply critiquing the geocentric model. Yes, I know that it harmonizes well with the Bible; yet, it is mythical mire not macrocosmic materiality.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

First I laughed at your clever post – “Egocentricity.”

Then I felt very sad – to realize you were not only mocking Geocentricity but God Himself and His Word (mythical mire)

I thought about abandoning you....because orbiting your “egocentricity” could be dangerous to my spiritual health. Your magnetism could pull me down to your level. “Beware of me,” as you put it, is a fair warning.

Yet there is a love-faithfulness solution that will work for both of us. I call it....

EGO-EIMI-CENTRICITY

So long as I keep Yeshua/YHWH as the center of my universe, and the Bible/Holy Scriptures as my central tenet, I am safe from your apostasy, and you are safe from abandonment. I can continue to love you back to the Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Israel with the Ahava of God. Your branch may be broken, but it can be grafted back in to the Olive Tree. It gets discouraging sometimes, but I still have hope for you. It must be the amazing Grace of God.

I am reading the Book of Job these days. I invite you to join me. We could discuss it here. Even if you consider it mythical mire, it is a profound treatise of insight and wisdom, wouldn’t you agree?

When was it written? And by whom? Let’s just look at the internal evidence. No need for special resources like your Macrocosmic materiality studies require. Maybe you could put that on the back burner for a bit.

I have read Job 1-8 thus far. I noticed ice and snow are mentioned (6:16). So the time period must be post-Flood, right? Do you believe there was a Great Flood that changed the climate of the planet?

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

I hope to offer a fuller response later, but I would like to ask you a multi-part question. Does the Bible itself teach that it is inerrant? Let me modify this. Does the Bible itself teach that it is inerrant with respect to science? If it is not inerrant with respect to science, then is it possible that the Bible would have incorporated mythical themes and even the genre of myth as the vehicle to teach theology and morality?

There are Evangelicals and theological conservatives that allow for the Bible to use the genre of myth and hence to be scientifically in error. These scholars, if you will, see the Bible’s portraits of science as accommodations to cultural moorings and not divine dictates. If one of these conservative scholars were to fellowship with you in a church setting, you might not realize that she was of this persuation for she would confess belief in the inspiration of the Scriptures and the deity of Christ, etc. As I develop some of these posts, I will be making reference to some of these scholars. Though I disagree with their thinking, I consider their testimony of importance.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

Yes, the Bible declares itself inerrant regarding science and everything else.....

For one thing, fulfilled prophecies validate the Bible as true in all respects.

Consider the following, Peter...yet I know you already know this. Refresh your own former beliefs...

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine...(2 Tim. 3:16)

God is not a man, that He should lie (Nu.23:19)

The Torah of the LORD is perfect....(Psalm 19)

On Mount Sinai, the LORD Himself declared that He made the world in six literal days....(Exodus 20:11)

Thy Word is true from the beginning; and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth forever. (Ps. 119:160...and all of Psalm 119, my favorite Psalm.)

Every word of God is pure (Pro. 30:5)

Thy word is truth (John 17:17)

Man shall live by every word of God (Matt. 4:4; Deut. 8:3)

Yeshua believed the Genesis Creation account (Matt 19:5; Mark 13:19). He also believed in Noah’s Flood (Matt. 24:38). He also believed that Jonah was in the whale’s belly (Matt. 12:40)

Peter believed in the Flood account (1 Peter 2:20)

Jude believed Enoch was the seventh generation from Adam (Jude 1:14)

The genealogies make no sense if Adam was not the first man.

The Apostle Paul believed in a literal Adam (Romans 5:14; 1 Cor. 15; 1 Tim. 2:13)

If there was not a literal Adam that sinned, the whole plan of Redemption makes no sense and Yeshua died for nothing.

Since the Bible is inerrant, and the observed facts of science do not contradict the Bible, your question about mythical themes is irrelevant.

Pagan myths are perversions of Bible truth.

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

If the Bible is only inspired under the conditions that you present, then I cannot accept the Bible as inspired. I agree that the question is either/or, and it is for this reason that I do not accept the Bible as *the* word of God. I believe that God may have communicated through it and that God may still communicate through it, but I cannot accept it as the inerrant authority on every subject it touches because it contains obvious error (and myth).

At this point I am not burdened with trying to evangelize for my position. I will post my findings. I enjoy dialogue, but I am not out to convince anyone at this time. I may take such an approach later, but I do not have an alternative model of spirituality to offer in the place of the one that I would tear down. Hence, I am reluctant to be aggressively critical of Jewish, Christian, or Islamic faith.

If you do not feel convinced by my posts, fine, but you may want to stay away from my posts. I have only tipped the iceberg on the issue of the bible's faulty cosmologies.