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Introducing Genesis

In today’s episode, the Proclaiming Christ panel considers an introduction to the book of Genesis. Among the topics discussed are: the absolute, supernatural work of God in Creation, the way in which creation looks forward toward ultimate, eschatological glory of God, and the way in which the Genesis account challenges various forms of unbelief. We also consider resources for the study of Genesis. We welcome you to listen along as we discuss matters foundational to the study and preaching of this wonderful book.

Participants: , , ,


Proclaiming Christ is an audio program focused upon biblical preaching. In each episode we will discuss the process, method, and goals of preaching biblical texts from a uniquely Reformed perspective. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

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Chris

7 years ago

Thank you, Adam, for pointing out that Genesis 1 and 2 don’t fit into the category of *redemptive* history. Lane Tipton is the only one I’m aware of who uses the phrase “covenant history” or “covenant-historical.” So unless one subscribes to Norman Shepherd’s covenant theology, the Federal Vision, or some other form of monocovenantalism, I think Lane’s phrase is very helpful for expressing the intersection of the historical and eschatological vectors, while avoiding a reductionism that excludes the original covenant of works.

Camden Bucey

7 years ago

I agree Chris. It’s important to underscore the integrity of the prelapsarian order. Vos is so helpful on this point in his Biblical Theology.

Adam York

7 years ago

Thanks Chris. Yes, I agree. Certainly it is appropriate and even necessary to speak of “redemptive-history”, but I also think that it’s important to ground our broadest understanding of revelation in categories other than “redemptive” or a “law-gospel hermenutic”, simply because in Genesis 1 and 2 there is no redemption and no gospel. The Westminster Standard’s description of Adam as being in a “covenant of works” should serve as an important reminder that not all Biblical history is redemptive. It is, however, appropriate to speak of all Biblical history being covenantal.

Mark G

7 years ago

I enjoyed the program, honest. This might be somewhat off topic but I had to wonder what you meant by “myth” when you seemed to equate ancient myths with contemporary science. We gain considerable benefit from contemporary science (scientific myth) over against ancient myth; medicine, space science & travel, genetics, electronics, artificial selection, evolutionary models (even for solving engineering problems) and on and on. Contemporary scientific “myth” at the very least has considerable explanatory power and heuristic value. Every time you turn on the lights or broadcast CTC you place faith in contemporary scientific “myth.” I doubt that any of the panel members have much use for ancient myth when they go to the doctor or turn on the ball game, or listen to the latest CTC podcast on Genesis for that matter. I guess my question is in what sense is contemporary scientific myth similar to ancient myths? In terms of explanatory power? In relation to ultimate questions? Adam may warn you that I can be a pest!

Mark Winder

7 years ago

Hello Mark,

Thanks for your comments and questions. Regarding modern creation myths, I believe we put it this way – that modern myths are “clothed in the garb of science.” Which to me speaks of myth dressed up as legitimate science. I think we were referencing unbelieving creedal statements with regard to the origins of the material world, and the confusion of the creator creature distinction by attributing the attributes of God to the material universe itself. In other words, we’re not talking about legitimate scientific inquiry, but idolatrous perversions of the truth.

I don’t think any of us would dispute the fact that we have much to learn from contemporary science. But I would suggest that when science attempts ultimate answers apart from special revelation, and even rejects the testimony of general revelation (which cannot be properly interpreted without special revelation) then it enters into the realm of myth. The idea of myth, particularly as it is biblically used, is that of fable or tales of human wisdom devised to obscure the truth. Myth is the difference between the eyewitness whose eyes have been opened by the Holy Spirit and the unbeliever who refuses to recognize the truth set before him. We were not talking about scientific postulation, but pseudo-science fabrication.

There is a distinction between hypothesis and myth. When we say something to the effect that modern man creates his own myth about the origins of the material and the denial of the supernatural, we are not discounting legitimate science which is, after all, based upon the idea that there can be propositional truth. Rather, by myth we are referring to those who would rather believe a lie in their effort to preserve their autonomy. Those who “will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (II Tim. 4:4). Many scientists believe that the “noumenal” can tell you nothing about the “phenomenal.” Autonomous man seeks to justify their claims to knowledge through autonomous rationalism or empiricism. Science has much to teach us, and we can learn greatly from it. I am one who finds even many of the findings of evolutionary theory to be somewhat fascinating, as they point to a universe of order. So I agree that we can learn much from legitimate scientific inquiry. But Scripture also provides for us a reliable account of the origin of the created order. And when those who purport to be scientists or philosophers (although in the past several decades the most vehement attacks against Christianity have come not from philosophy but from “science”) reject ex nihilo creation, and seek to make God subject to their own whim, they reject an authentic scientific method and exchange it for the lie.

So I would suggest that while our modern sensibilities have discounted such fables as the Enuma Elish, or the Memphite creation account, humankind still seeks some other means – or fanciful tale – to reject God’s revealed word. Whether it is process theology, Darwinian evolution, or Hinduism, the details differ. The autonomous intention does not. Each of them have at their foundation a confusion of the creator creature distinction. One of the reasons I find it useful to explore the original context and the ancient myths the Israelites would have heard is not only to gain a better sense of the polemic intention of the creation story, but also to recognize that humankind has always sought some other explanation for their origins than that provided by the God who holds them accountable.

Mark Winder.

Bruce Sanders

4 years ago

Mark:

You might want to consider the errors in Reformed history before you repeat your putdown statement, “When science attempts ultimate answers apart from special revelation.” The early Reformers used special revelation, biblical inerrancy, and proof texting to dogmatically preach a geocentric universe (immobile earth, around which a firmament revolves with sun, moon and stars attached, and above which, waters are reserved for judgement). Unfortunately for them, the natural revelation of science (Copernicus, NASA, Hubble) totally debunked the myth created by special revelation.

Also, not to be repeated is the arrogant / sanctimonious demeanor of the Reformers:

John Calvin: “Those who assert that ‘the earth moves and turns’…[are] motivated by ‘a spirit of bitterness, contradiction, and faultfinding;’ possessed by the devil, they aimed ‘to pervert the order of nature.'” (Sermon no. 8 on 1st Corinthians);

Martin Luther: “People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool [or ‘man’] wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.” (Table Talk);

John W. Mahaffy

7 years ago

Brothers, thank you for the time and effort put in these “Proclaiming Christ” podcasts. I am listening and learning!
John Mahaffy

Michael LaBelle

5 years ago

Wonderful! I just found this, but will definitely listen to more.
And I appreciate the comments too.

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