Tuesday, December 19, 2017

What is Early Genesis? The Modified Tablet Theory


Secular scholars claim that the book of Genesis is basically a forgery, made by priests and fraudulently ascribed to Moses during or after the Babylonian exile. Fundamentalists assert that the book was penned in its entirety by Moses under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. There is a third view, less known, that leaves the door open for Divine Inspiration but assets that Moses did not start with a blank slate when he compiled the first 36 chapters of Genesis. Rather, he had a series of clay tablets from some of the previous patriarchs of the Bible which were already treated like sacred texts. This is the tablet theory. In its original form, there are a few places where it does not fit well with the text, but if the theory is modified as described in this video those objections go away while at the same time providing reasonable alternatives to all of the arguments advanced by secular scholars.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

A Model that can Bring Reasons to Believe and BioLogos Together

Reasons to Believe is one of the oldest and best groups out there, if not the best, which takes the "Old Earth Creationist" position. BioLogos does not take such a formal position on creation issues, but the common view of their work is that they defend a position of "Theistic Evolution." That is, God set things up and got the ball rolling, but after that it all unfolded without the need for His further intervention.
I can't help but notice that the model for creation in Early Genesis, the Revealed Cosmology merges both of these models nicely. Though it ultimately comes down on the Old Earth Creationist side, it argues that what creation was trying to do was theistic evolution, but our natural universe simply could not pull off fulling God's will by itself! It could not do so without His further direct intervention- in other words the natural universe has the same problem we have! 
I am not going to go into all of the details here, but the premise is that in Genesis chapter one God is separating the natural from the supernatural universe until the mid-point of the third day. After that creation is happening at different rates of responsiveness to God's Word in the two realms. 
On the first part of day six for example, we see the pattern. In verse twenty-four of Genesis chapter one God initiates the sixth day by commanding the land, in whatever realm it may be natural or supernatural, to bring forth living creatures after their kind. The land in the supernatural realm, the third heaven, does so immediately and exactly as God says. High Heaven then reports “And it was so.”
But while the land above performs His word completely, we learn in verse twenty-five that in our world God Himself must act subsequent to High Heaven reporting "it was so" in order to fulfill His word on this earth. Our natural world can’t seem to get started until God makes “kinds” of land animals. Unlike in the heavenly realm, the earth only brings them forth after God has made the kind, or category, for the earth to work with. Since we can't do His will without His intervention either, this is a suitable universe for beings in our spiritual condition.
Ironically, what occurs in the land above sounds a lot like “theistic evolution”. God commands the land to bring forth the living creatures by kinds and the land does so. But it is not our land. It’s the land those who love God will enjoy in the life to come. Down here on earth, creation can’t pull this process off without God’s continued direct intervention. God has to “make” the land animals kind by kind. He puts on the earth patterns of what is heaven and the earth then takes it from there.
In this view of things, the many disputes between those who think life diversified via theistic evolution versus those who believe God used direct creation seem almost irrelevant. Which view is correct? Well, both are correct in their respective realm. On the one hand, in the realm we live in God had to directly make prototypes of the animals by kinds. So that’s divine creation. On the other hand, its only divine creation because this realm doesn’t have it together yet- what happened in the land above looked more like theistic evolution.
According to this passage that is not what happened down here though. God directly intervened and got things going for “the land.” In the record of nature that might still look a lot like theistic evolution, because nature (the land) was working off of a pattern which worked very much like “theistic evolution” in the heavenly realm. In this mixed realm of darkness and light, the land could not pull it off alone. So both sides are right and both are wrong. Can’t we all just get along here?
Imagine a color printer that an adult can use to print off a color picture from an electronic file at the touch of a button. The adult does not have to actually paint the picture. The printer does that for them on their command, and then “reports” when the job is done. Then the adult hands that picture to a small child with a paint set, and the adult asks the child to paint a copy of that picture. The child needs a lot of help from the adult to get started, but once the adult gets them started they finish up. It is a very imperfect copy of the original, but the adult compliments them on it just the same. The child then reports that the adult “saw that it was good”. It was not a perfect copy of what was above, but it can be used to accomplish whatever the adult had in mind.
In this analogy, the printer is the land above and the child with the paint set is the land in our realm. The result would also look similar to the original yet not prepared in quite the same way- much like our record in nature may look similar to what it would if theistic evolution produced the results we see, yet those results were not strictly produced by that method. 
In short, it may be that RTB and BioLogos can actually defend the same Biblical Creation Model by somewhat modifying the models they are each putting forth. As we learn more and more about the truth of God's Word our models can be expected to be more and more refined, much like the record of nature allows scientists to refine their models. 


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