Correlations With Providence In Genesis 1 -- By: Vern S. Poythress
WTJ 77:1 (Spring 2015) p. 71
Correlations With Providence In Genesis 1
Vern S. Poythress is Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary.
I propose that correlations between creation and providence help us to understand the meaning of details in Gen 1.
I. Difficulties For Modern Readers
On one level, Gen 1 is not hard. It says that God created the world and everything in it, and that he is the sole creator and sovereign. But it has become hard for modern people to deal with some of the details of Gen 1. I believe that a good deal of the difficulty comes from the interference of modern science in the back of our minds. Many people come to Gen 1 expecting that it will address the same kinds of questions about details of physical composition and details of causal processes that are common in modern science. Then they are disappointed. Or they may see in Gen 1 a kind of technical precision characteristic of science. Instead, Gen 1 uses nontechnical language, such as is suitable to address everyone, including ancient Israelites and isolated present-day cultures with no exposure to science.
In answer to these difficulties, I examined in a previous article three modern myths that interfere with interpreting Gen 1.1 (1) The myth of scientistic metaphysics says that science gives us the most ultimate metaphysical analysis of the world and that it offers “reality” as opposed to the “unreality” of appearances. (2) The myth of progress says that the growth of scientific knowledge and technological gadgets makes us superior in our knowledge of the universe to “primitive” cultures. (3) The myth of understanding cultures from facts says that if we accumulate enough facts about another culture we can understand it. In this article I shall presuppose the results of the previous article. They serve to clear out the underbrush, namely, the accumulation of distorted assumptions and distorted interpretive strategies, in order to prepare fresh space for examining Gen 1.
WTJ 77:1 (Spring 2015) p. 72
II. Interpretive Principles For Genesis 1
In addition to this clearing of the underbrush, I will use a number of interpretive principles that positively guide the reading of Gen 1. These principles cannot be defended witho...
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