Theistic Evolution And The Hebrew Of Genesis 1-2 -- By: J. Barton Payne

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 08:2 (Spring 1965)
Article: Theistic Evolution And The Hebrew Of Genesis 1-2
Author: J. Barton Payne

Theistic Evolution And The Hebrew Of Genesis 1-2

J. Barton Payne

Evangelicalism has a double stake in Genesis 1-2: concerning the “what,” and also the “how,” of creation. About the former, the “what,” it need simply be stated without further elaboration that Christianity is committed to the reality of divine creation: “For by Him [Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth” (Col. 1:16; cf our Lord’s own commitment to creation in Mt. 19:4), as opposed to theories of naturalistic evolution. About the latter, the “how,” Christians have, until recently, been content to reaffirm the facticity of Genesis 1-2, as God Himself summarized it at Sinai, “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is” (Ex. 20:11). Today, however, two trends, to the contrary have manifested themselves, even in conservative circles. Both of these would assert the truth of divine creation, while resisting a commitment to the traditionally accepted method of creation.1 The result is to render legitimate the position of theistic evolution,2 herein defined as accepting, as a naturally explainable development, the bodily (though not spiritual) evolution of mankind.3 The more extreme trend would deny to Genesis 1-2 the literary character of historical narrative, thus bypassing the entire question of whether it conveys knowledge of the physical processes of creation. Such methods of interpretation, however, whether designated as “mythical,” “parabolic,” or “figurative,”4 stand self-condemned in the light, both of the known literary form of Genesis itself, and of the analogy of the rest of Scripture, which assumes throughout its literal historicity/The Evangelical Theological Society recently devoted an entire issue of its Bulletin to this subject,5 which it is not the purpose of the present paper to repeat.6 The less

extreme trend would question whether the Hebrew text of Genesis does indeed present concrete data on the “how” of creation.7 It is the purpose of this paper, then, to investigate those portions of the Hebrew text of You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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