Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Harmonizing Gen 1-2

To some extent it seems to me that Currid's explanation is an answer to a pseudoproblem:

I appreciate Currid outflanking Halton on Hebrew grammar. That said, I think Currid should challenge Halton's tacit assumptions. 

i) To begin with, Gen 1-2 could only be dischronologous assuming they both cover the same ground. Yet near the end of his reply, Currid notes, in one fleeting sentence, that

It is true that the two chapters of Genesis view the creation event from two different angles or perspectives. Genesis 1 paints the creation of the cosmos in a sequential, broad stroke, whereas Genesis 2:4-25 presents an elaboration of the sixth day and focuses primarily on the creation of mankind. 

But if, unlike Gen 1, Gen 2 isn't narrating the creation of fauna and flora in general, but only fauna and flora specific to the garden, then I fail to see how there's even a prima facie dischronology between the two accounts. Only if they cover the same ground would a different sequence generate a chronological discrepancy.

ii) Moreover, suppose, for the sake of argument, that they are dischronologous? So what? How does that falsify inerrancy? It would only falsify inerrancy on the assumption that the narrator meant to report events in chronological sequence or else that he was supposed to report events in chronological sequence. 

Take the Synoptic Gospels. Inerrantists grant that the Gospel writers sometimes rearrange the original order of events. They may group some sayings or events logically rather than chronologically. But that isn't false. Rather, they can be true in different respects. A sequence can be true with respect to time or true with respect to topic. A thematic arrangement relates material thematically rather than chronologically. But that's true, too, as long as they do, indeed, share a common theme.

So we need to distinguish between chronological time and narrative time. Inerrancy allows for both. 

Halton operates with a simplistic criterion of inerrancy. The way he frames the issue is flawed from the outset. 

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