Sunday, June 03, 2018

Is Gen 1 about who made the world rather than how it was made?

Theistic evolutionists commonly assert that Gen 1 is about who made the world and not how it was made. Let's consider one implication of that contention. On a conventional reading, man is the pinnacle of creation because days 1-6a are leading up to the creation of man. It's a way of indicating that man is more important than animals or the ecosystem. Not all lifeforms are equal. Humans are more valuable in God's sight than subhuman organisms. 

But that only follows if Gen 1 is about more than who made the world. That only follows if the narrative progression tells us something about how God made the world. About God's intentions regarding his creatures. About relative ranking. 

In ancient Near Eastern mythology, I don't think that's a given. There's nothing that special about human beings. Not coincidentally, the post-Christian view of contemporary environmentalism degrades the significance of human existence.


  1. Steve,

    I did some studying and I now realize that Jesus Christ is the same One God with the Father. However, I am still having trouble wrapping my head around how we can call the One God a "He" without making reference to one individual person at a time. I know you say it doesn't matter, but I am close to accepting your view so please help me out. I notice sometimes people say that "God manifests HIMSELF in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." Would you agree that that is a fourth person of the Trinity, and semi-modalistic?

    1. "God manifests HIMSELF in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."

      It's a misleading formulation. The problem is less with the pronoun than the verb, which has moralistic connotations.

      In fairness, there's nothing necessarily modalistic about divine "manifestation" language. A theophany is typically defined as a "manifestation" of God's presence.

      And, of course, everything we know about God is based on God's self-revelation. "Manifestation" and "revelation" can be synonymous.

      However, many laymen do oscillate between a more tritheistic understanding and a more moralistic understanding.

    2. Using pronouns for God is unavoidable. The third-person masculine singular can have either of two emphases:

      i) It can emphasize the uniqueness of the Deity. Just one example, unlike polytheism.

      ii) It can emphasize that the Deity is masculine–compared to heathen goddesses.

      In other words, it can be a statement of gender as well as, or rather than, number. In a world where people believed in gods and goddesses, it is necessary to rule out Yahweh as a goddess!