Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Listening to History helps us understand Genesis correctly.

How is it that there are so many strange views about Genesis "out there" and they have failed to study that which has already been written on the matter?
We see this for example in those who spend so much time talking about J.E.D.P in regard to Genesis and when it was written and by whom that they ignore what the Bible actually says about it, indeed what Jesus said about it, and lastly what scholars have already said about it.
Hommel says
"When we find that a whole school of evangelical theologians do not hesitate to declare that a passage was composed at a later date or interpolated, simply because they are unwilling to recognise the existence of any high moral teaching or lofty conception of the Godhead prior to the time of the prophets of the eighth or seventh century B.C, then in view of the facts advanced in the present volume, we cannot but regard their attitude as a deplorably mistaken one, and hope that it may soon become a thing of the past." Ane. Heb. Trad. pp 291-292.

Firstly what Hommel basically pointed out is that a persons presuppositions can direct their "scholarly" conclusions to quite silly conclusions. Dating as they do the book of Genesis to the eighth or seventh century. To do that on the basis of assuming that the earlier Israelites lacked presumably the ability to understand the high moral teaching or lofty conception of the Godhead is presumptuous. It reminds one of the liberal theologians of the 19th Century who denied the miraculous and so deleted them from the Scriptures, explaining them away. And what do you do about the theological concepts found in the pre 8th and 7th century revelation of God? Many of the 19th Century liberals also methodologically started their studies by looking at the religious ideas found in the world and narrowing down to the Israelite religion. But this denies that they "set apart Christ as Lord" 1 Peter 3, in all their endeavours, even their scholarly endeavours!

Secondly and perhaps just as disheartening is that the hope of Hommel wasn't realised and people have continued to try to build a case for the late date or interpolation of the text of Genesis.
Pick up the commentary by Wenham on Genesis 1-15 and you will find pages of discussion about the Yahwist tradition and the Elohim and Priestly traditions etc but not a word about Moses himself having written down the revelation of God and the idea it was written during the trek in the wilderness.

Let us be careful in our Study of the Word of God, which alone is a light to our feet.

God bless,

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