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« fann favorites 12 september 2008 | Main | I can do all things. (Monday with Mounce 6) by Bill Mounce »

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Good post! I enjoyed your book Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament.

I am not sure I understand.

Aren't all of the following material in nature?

If the cosmos, people, blacksmiths, Israel, geographic objects, etc. are not material what are they?

Cosmos (10, including New Cosmos)
People in general (10)
Specific groups of people (6)
Specific individuals or types of individuals (5)
Creatures (2)
Components of cosmic geography (3)

I am sure I am just being dense as this is probably supposed to be obvious.

Thanks,

Joe

Thanks for the chance to clarify Joe. It is not that any of these are not material at all. Israel is arguably material, but when the text says God created Israel it is not talking about him creating (materially) each and every Israelite. God is the originator of the idea of Israel and the group that is Israel--of the people. It is not a material statement. He has caused them to function as a people--as HIS people. Even in cases where the object of the verb is potentially material, it is also potentially functional. The fact is, however, that there are many occurrences where it can ONLY be functional. There are no passages where it can ONLY be material. This leads us to focus on the functional aspects.

JOhn H. Walton

Professor Walton,

It seems your ideas have sparked a discussion right here: http://bethyada.blogspot.com/2009/02/does-bible-reflect-modern-science.html

Do you have a response to the issues raised?

Greg

Yes, "functional rather than material." Readers of the OT text need to get this.

At any rate, I posted something similar from prof. Eugene Merrill: here

Although the Bible shows meticulous detail, the interpretation is always suspect. My problem has always been the idea of a God creating something out of nothing, until I read an article by "Professor Ellen van Wolde". 'She claims she has carried out fresh textual analysis that suggests the writers of the great book never intended to suggest that God created the world -- and in fact the Earth was already there when he created humans, and animals."

Her article can be found at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/6274502/God-is-not-the-Creator-claims-academic.html

See my variation on that in the recently published Lost World of Genesis One (IVP)

Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!

so then if bereshith means head,top,or chief,aka.,the greek "arche", and jesus says that HE is the "arche",then, in the arche,fattened or functioned the elohim the...erets....??.see john 1.1-3.hmmm.get rid of our ideas that genesis is about molecules and our ideas about time,( adam lived what,930 years!)now the conceptualization of the truth of god has a chance

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