Dr. Cornelis Van Dam joins us to speak about his book In the Beginning: Listening to Genesis 1 and 2, in which he argues that reading Genesis 1 and 2 as history is not only justified but necessary. Van Dam clarifies the different roles that ancient Near Eastern literature and scientific theories should play in our understanding of the Bible as he carefully deals with the exegetical details of the first two chapters of the Bible. He writes:
The focus of this work is therefore not to give an all-around commentary and explanation of every verse in Genesis 1 and 2, but to listen to Scripture in order to find out what God is revealing to us about the historicity of the beginning chapters of Genesis. Concentrating on listening to what Scripture actually says brings with it the realization that the reader of the Word has a relatively modest place. The one who listens to Scripture acknowledges that the Word, not the reader, determines the meaning of the text (p. 9).
Dr. Van Dam is an Old Testament scholar, who has served with distinction as a professor of Old Testament at the Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary from 1981 to 2011. He holds degrees from Wilfrid Laurier University, Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary, Knox College at the University of Toronto, and the Theological University of Kampen. Over his career, he has made significant contributions to Old Testament scholarship, with a special focus on the Pentateuch. He is the author of notable works including In the Beginning: Listening to Genesis 1 and 2, The Elder, and The Deacon. These publications reflect his commitment to exploring not merely themes in biblical studies but also their implications for Christian doctrine and practice.
Dr. Van Dam was honored in 2011 with a Festschrift titled Living Waters from Ancient Springs: Essays in Honor of Cornelis Van Dam. This volume, featuring contributions from notable scholars such as Hans Boersma and Al Wolters, is a testament to his significant impact on theological scholarship and his enduring legacy in biblical studies.
- 00:07 Introduction
- 06:10 The Impetus for this Book
- 09:36 The Impact of the Enlightenment
- 12:34 Christian Presuppositions about Science and the Bible
- 17:47 The Purpose of Scripture and Nature of Its Language
- 23:10 The Length of Days at Creation
- 30:00 The Role of Extra-biblical Evidence
- 35:20 Cosmology and Phenomenology
- 39:35 The Framework View
- 45:08 The Seventh Day
- 47:09 What Does It Matter?
- 52:07 Conclusion
Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.