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The Lost World of Genesis One

Walton's book arguably provides perspectives on the first chapter of Genesis in relation to the origin and materials in it. Aside from the usual material contents of the creation myths that we hear about, the book includes eighteen well-presented propositions and critiques. Each proposition has its own chapter, with Walton explaining eleven of them on interpretation and the rest on related topics. Walton I his book says “I believe that the reading that I have offered is the most literal reading possible at this point.” which can be interpreted that one would require to understand the first language used to write the book literally before getting to understand and criticize the chronological order of creation.

In the general overview of the Christian worldview, there are no witnesses on the creation stories of how God made the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th day in his cosmic dwelling place. The bible does not focus on proof but rather the concept of faith and an understanding of the role of God in the creation of the world. The bible according to Walton is set up on a way that it explains the cosmos of God and the purpose he had for the creation. Walton also talks o transformation of the natural dwelling place of god to the secular way that people associate it with. Many have deviated from the path and only respect it if there are personal gains involved. The transformation by the word is one way that has corrupted the old creation from the natural way intended to the cosmos of the new world.

In the 18 propositions that Walton has used to interpret the bible especially the idea of cosmos, there are two key ideas relevant in them. The first idea is based on ancient cosmology and the different theories that explain the origin of the universe on the basis of creation or evolution. The second key concept is based on the functional origins of the world and not the material origins of the creation. in this concept the earth is given it functions based on the dwelling place of God. Due to lack of evidence, the age of the earth in relation to creation has remained ambiguous since there is no exact estimate showing how long the earth has been in existence. We can only work with estimates and follow the beliefs we have.

The first proposition is based on ancient cosmology. This define the several accounts on how the natural way cam to be. In the ancient cosmology view, there are no miracles and the heart is the sitting of all emotions. The reason for the lack of miracles is because they deviate from the natural processes of doing things just as Walton explained. In the topic of ancient cosmology, Walton explains that Christians try to corn their modern ways of life to fit the biblical ways a term he refers to as “concordism,” to mean, seeking to give some modern explanation scientifically to translate for the modern reader the culture and text of the ancient ways of life. The problem is, we cannot translate their cosmology to our cosmology, nor should we. Another concept explained by concordism is the assumption that text should be interpreted in context with the current consensus. This entails conning the bible into ways that were not initially intended.

The second proposition basis is that Ancient Cosmology is function oriented. In the book, Walton does not give meaning to the material of creation but rather on the function of the creation. Even though the gods took part in creating the world and everything in it, very few accounts are given and the ancient cosmos only talks of the cosmos as a company or a kingdom for the dwelling of the gods. The definition of existence is based on the functions instilled in all the aspect of creation. creating beings is not enough and can only be explained by having the beings doing as God instructed. This is how the material creation is meaningless in this proposition.

The third proposition talks of how ‘Create Concerns Functions.’ According to the first bible that was in Hebrew, the purpose of creating was to bring purpose and function to the world. In the bible, the term “in the beginning” cannot be used to interpret just the first day of creation but rather the entire period of seven days that God used to bring the universes into a functional existence. The entire period of creation involved God assigning functions to the heavens and earth as well as anything else that lives in it. this summarizes the third proposition of creation involving giving functional meaning to the aspects of creation.

The fourth proposition as per the Walton explanation of the creation story of Genesis is theta “the beginning state of the world was non functional.” The bible describes the world being formless before the creation and void. This can be interpreted to mean that the earth was unproductive or non functional. After God created everything, he was happy and describes it as good. This means that he transformed the formless and void world to something functional and productive. Everything in the creation was functioning correctly except for man who only became perfect after God created the woman. We can therefore conclusively say that the creation began with no function rather than no material.

The next proposition talks of how the account of Genesis day 1 to day 3 of creation establish functions. Day and night, water and food are the basic functions that enable organisms to coexist peacefully and freely in the world. This account conforms with the third proposition where creation concerned functions. The purpose of day and night, water and food was so that organisms could get their means of survival. In relation to the sixth proposition, days 4 to 6 of creation talk of the functionaries. These are the beings that were placed in the garden to live on the functions. These beings were made to populate the earth and enjoy the various functions that God had put in the garden.

The seventh and the eight propositions are about the Cosmos being a temple and the dwelling place. Divine rest always takes place in a temple and God established this temple immediately after creation. according to the translation of “Rest” by Walton, its is not a state of doing nothing but rather a state of taking normal duties as required of you. God lives in the temple where he is able to conduct his duties of watching over his creation. The Cosmos is a Temple where a lot of things take place and the tabernacle representing a lot of imagery from the Garden of Eden.

The seven days of genesis1 creation represent the inauguration of the cosmic temple. Although not addressed in the bible, the inauguration of the cosmic temple can be attributed to three major events of “reaffirmed creation, temple presence and royal election.” The 10th creation proposition talks of the seven days not containing any concern s on the material origins. All indicators in the genesis creation stories talk about the functionality and not the material account of creation. God created everything and death was not a problem until the fall of man. Everything in the creation can die and humans although created in the image of God did not have immortal souls.

The 11th proposition talks about the ‘functional cosmic temple offering face value exegesis ’.the face value means that there is always some meaning intended in every world and the reader should learn on how to interpret. The most common word in the historical reading of creation is the term “bara” to mean create in Hebrew. This is often taken literally by most Christians. The term is a metaphor to mean functional and thus the need to interpret the creation in relation to the intended purpose. In contrast, a concordist approach intentionally attempts to read an ancient text in modern terms. Concordist interpretations attempt to read details of physics, biology, geology and so on into the biblical text. This is a repudiation of reading the text at face value.

The 12th proposition talks of other theories in the Genesis story either going too far or not far enough. The modern ideas of interpreting these stories lead people into thinking of a history not supported by the bible or science. The book of genesis is more than the biblical truths and thus no scientific explanation can be conned to fit it. Relative to the 13th proposition that talks of the Difference between Origin Accounts in Science and Scripture Is Metaphysical in Nature, the story of genesis is basically teological and the origin can be interpreted as the scientific way of explaining these processes.

The 14th proposition talks about the role of God as the provider and sustainer being more that we humans could have predicted. God did not create the world in the past and left it to run on its own but rather continues to provide and sustain it even today. It is important to know that God is intimately involved in the world and that he has never seized at providing for the people in it as well as the rest of the creation. god’s continuing role is often misunderstood especially when we tend to think of the misfortunes that befall the creation at times. we should therefore never forget the undying love and continuity for life that we see since all these are the various ways we get to experience the involvement of God in the world today.

The 15th and 16th talk about the purpose and the concerns based on the scientific explanations. The Darwin’s theory of existence of man has failed to explain the complex nature of human beings and the rest of the creation and the natural processes talked about to bring the world to being the nature we see today. The survival for the fittest concept to death does not explain how species get to differentiate and exist.  There is much more to biological evolution than the evolution of man, so one can use evolution to explain the existence of most of the diversity of life, but believe something special happened with humans.

the 17th proposition talks of theology based on the story of Genesis being stronger than weaker. There are several aspects attributed to this view where the nature of theology is deemed strong. Cosmos is a temple of God and should be kept holy, the Sabbath day should be kept holy, man should take care of the rest of the creation by guarding it, God takes part in our day to day activities of life and that order is an important aspect of life and creation. in 7 days, God created the universe in an orderly manner and therefore humans should conform to it. The last proposition is that Public Science Education Should Be Neutral Regarding Purpose. Science should not be taught to rule out the various creation stories but rather complement them and explain the existence of the universe in a neutral manner. The concept of God being supreme should never be spelt out.

In conclusion the views of Walton on the Genesis story depict the various ways of understanding the universe and conforming the function we all were made purposely for. Humans should therefore understand the hidden meaning in the creation stories and try to stick to the original purpose of god on his creation.

References

Walton, John H. Lost World of Genesis One, The. IVP Academic, 2009.

Walton, John H. The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate. InterVarsity Press, 2010.

Walton, John H. "The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010)." The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2–3 and the Human Origins Debate.

September 11, 2021

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