Book Sale: Zondervan’s Counterpoint series

For a LIMITED time (til the end of February), Zondervan has its Counterpoints in Bible and Theology series on a $3.79-$3.99 sale for Kindle users!! And…  they are all in one way or another well worth the thinking Christian’s time and money.

Here might be some of the more pertinent ones (IMO):

Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?: 4 Views (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)

Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)

Three Views on Creation and Evolution (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)

Four Views on the Historical Adam (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)

Four Views on the Book of Revelation (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)

Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)

Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)

Four Views on Moving Beyond the Bible to Theology (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology)

I hope you get a couple and read them and learn from them!  -Blessings.

On Genesis 1 & 2

from Scot McKnight’s blog:

What does it teach?

God, the God of Israel — the one and only God — created everything, including stars and humans. Creation is dependent on God and God is independent of creation; God is involved — hence, theism and not pantheism or deism. God is not gendered; humans are. Humans have a relationship to God and to one another. The relationship of man to woman is mutuality and equality, not superiority. Humans are images of God, statues of God in this world put here to represent God.

To me, this is it!  This is the message of the creation narrative.  I find it significantly far more interesting, compelling, interesting, even soul stirring than all the jibberish about the speculative details about how the world may have been made and so on.  you can read more there.

Dave Black’s Paul, Apostle of Weakness

is now up on Amazon.  Here is a snippet from Chapter 5 that he posted on his blog:

In another vein, Paul can also use the words in several instances in the specific sense of bodily weakness, i.e., physical illness, thus approximating the fundamental usage common to all literature in antiquity. He clearly uses the root for sickness with reference to Epaphroditus (Phil 2:26-27), Timothy (1 Tim 5:23), and Trophimus (2 Tim 4:20), his close companions in the gospel ministry. Paul probably uses the root for sickness with reference to himself when he speaks of an “infirmity of the flesh” as the cause for his initial preaching of the gospel among the Galatians (Gal 4:13).

If we are correct in concluding that Paul is referring to a physical infirmity, we can think of this weakness as a particular disease or ailment, the specific diagnosis of which is, however, a mystery. Cases of illness among Christians in NT times indicate that the apostolic commission to heal (cf. Mark 16:18) could not be effected indiscriminately to heal oneself or one’s friends. Normal means of healing were available for Timothy’s gastric problem, for instance; and even in the company of Paul Trophimus became too ill to travel any further.

The classical Pauline passage on illness (2 Cor 12:7-10) is in this respect most striking of all, in that Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” remained with the apostle despite even the most intensive prayer for its removal. Paul states three reasons for its existence: to keep him from becoming proud because of his revelations and visions (v. 7); to enable him to experience the power of Christ (v. 9); and to teach him the true purpose of hardships, persecutions, and personal difficulties (v. 10). Indeed, the entire passage is concerned more with the power and grace of the Lord than with the weakness of the apostle. Physical infirmity is evidence that the body “is sown in weakness” (1 Cor 15:43) and is a cogent reminder of the creature’s dependence upon the Creator. In this respect, the case of Paul is remarkably like that of Jacob, who learned to depend totally upon God only after he had been inflicted with a physical injury (Gen 32:24–32).

These instances of illness show that the real issue in the matter of human suffering is our relationship to God rather than our own physical condition, as painful as it may be.

Dave is going through a difficult time right now with his wife Becky being so ill and in the hospital (all this you can read about on his blog)m he doesn’t just write this stuff, he lives it – be lifting them up in prayer and show your support and encouragement to him by buying a book and sharing about it on your own blog!

on the nephilium

a friend’s 10 yr old daughter wants to know about the nephilium in Genesis 6.

help me compile a good answer for her (remember, she’s 10 so keep it simple as possible – yet not oversimple either).


so far I might just keep it simple and say they are the offspring of the fallen angels (“sons of God” and the women of the earth – anything much more than that would be speculation.

Genesis 3:16 NET Notes

I got my wife an NLT One Year Bible for Christmas (since the new NIV won’t be out for a while) and she seemed taken aback at the NLT’s translation of Genesis 3:16:

Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you. ” (Gen 3:16 NLT)

When most other translations are more like the following:

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Gen 3:16 NRS)

I noticed that the NET Bible is similar to the NLT: ‘

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your labor pains; with pain you will give birth to children. You will want to control your husband, but he will dominate you.” (Gen 3:16 NET)

So, I thought, this was interesting so I wanted to see the exegetical notes for the NET that I have on BW8.  They read as follows:

NET Notes (Gen 3:16)
48 ) tn Heb “and toward your husband [will be] your desire.” The nominal sentence does not have a verb; a future verb must be supplied, because the focus of the oracle is on the future struggle. The precise meaning of the noun hq’WvT. (t®shuqah, “desire”) is debated.

Many interpreters conclude that it refers to sexual desire here, because the subject of the passage is the relationship between a wife and her husband, and because the word is used in a romantic sense in Song 7:11 HT (7:10 ET).

However, this interpretation makes little sense in Gen 3:16. First, it does not fit well with the assertion “he will dominate you.” Second, it implies that sexual desire was not part of the original creation, even though the man and the woman were told to multiply. And third, it ignores the usage of the word in Gen 4:7 where it refers to sin’s desire to control and dominate Cain. (Even in Song of Songs it carries the basic idea of “control,” for it describes the young man’s desire to “have his way sexually” with the young woman.)

In Gen 3:16 the LORD announces a struggle, a conflict between the man and the woman. She will desire to control him, but he will dominate her instead. This interpretation also fits the tone of the passage, which is a judgment oracle. See further Susan T. Foh, “What is the Woman’s Desire?” WTJ 37 (1975): 376-83.
49 )tn The Hebrew verb lv;m’ (mashal) means “to rule over,” but in a way that emphasizes powerful control, domination, or mastery. This also is part of the baser human nature. The translation assumes the imperfect verb form has an objective/indicative sense here. Another option is to understand it as having a modal, desiderative nuance, “but he will want to dominate you.” In this case, the LORD simply announces the struggle without indicating who will emerge victorious.
sn This passage is a judgment oracle. It announces that conflict between man and woman will become the norm in human society. It does not depict the NT ideal, where the husband sacrificially loves his wife, as Christ loved the church, and where the wife recognizes the husband’s loving leadership in the family and voluntarily submits to it. Sin produces a conflict or power struggle between the man and the woman, but in Christ man and woman call a truce and live harmoniously (Eph 5:18–32).

So here was my initial reaction…  🙂   It made me wonder if complementarianism is a consequence of the fall and not God’s ideal?  Because of the indication of a future struggle to desire to control one another, I wondered if just prior to the fall God intended a more egalitarian partnership in both the man and woman relationship and in the care for the earth?  Does the indication of a future struggle mean there wasn’t one before?   Did God intend for each to be equal to each other working together?  Notice too that God had all the animals pass before Adam and he found no equal – til he saw Eve and said “AH, now I have found my equal!”  All kinds of questions for me to think about!  lol!

Now, I fully recognize this could be a completely ridiculous assertion, but I just wonder if it might hold up.

This is why we need to know out bible languages people (or interact with those who do) – it greatly helps in exegetical method!

Too much Bible Science?

I am getting back in to reading Ross’ book The Genesis Question to finish it and carry on with the rolling review I started on it a while ago (when I got blasted for supporting the changes to the AG paper on the doctrine of Creation).   Here is a passage I came across:

That so many Christians today believe the Bible is largely devoid of scientific content is, at least in part, a reaction to the last two hundred years of dialogue between science and theology in which Christian theology appears to have been bested repeatedly by secular science.  The Bible, unlike any other book, is intended to be read and understood by people living in eras spanning at least 3,500 years.  This places some serious constraints on the quantity and kind of science it can contain.

For the Bible to adopt the scientific paradigms or language of any age would compromise the ability of the text to speak to earlier or later generations.  But, because the Bible does have the capacity to communicate to all generations of humanity, many Bible interpreters are tempted to read into the text far too much of the science of their time.  For example, I have received more than ten unsolicited manuscripts from individuals who are convinced that Genesis 1, properly understood, gives a detailed exposition of the origin and structure of the various families of fundamental particles even though no word in the text even hints of particles.

from Hugh Ross’ The Genesis Question: Scientific Advances and the Accuracy of Genesis (Navpress, 2001), 14-15.


So basically, the Bible isn’t a scientific text so quit trying to make it out to be one.  If it happens that modern science can support some aspect of the Genesis creation narrative, cool!  If not, don’t try to wedge it into the text and make it fit.  Let the text be as it is and let it speak for itself!

Why the Bible doesn’t always literally mean what it says.

Watch this video clip with NT Wright and Peter Enns of the BioLogos Foundation discussing the meaning of literal in Genesis 1:

A summary of the video comes courtesy BioLogos Blog:

So when we ask if Genesis can be taken literally, that doesn’t settle the question of what it refers to. This should be an open question, Wright says, when we read any text: what does it refer to and how does it intend to refer to it? When it says in the Gospels, “Jesus was crucified,” the literal reading refers to a concrete event. But when Jesus tells a parable, the literal reading points to an abstraction or a metaphor—though it may have a concrete application.

Wright then considers what the writers of Genesis intended to do by the creation story and points out that in context, telling a story about someone who constructs something in six days is a temple story. It is about God making heavens and the Earth as the place he wants to dwell and placing humans into that construct as a way of reflecting his own love into the world and drawing out the praise and glory from the world back to himself. “That is the literal meaning of Genesis,” says Wright, “and the question of the formal structure has to sit around that as best it can.” (read more here)

I don’t always agree with NT Wright but here I think it gets at what is meant by literal.

HT: TC Robinson (though I know it has been up on other blogs too, e.g., Mark Stevens, etc).

on confusing interpretation of the Bible with the Bible

Ron is asking me what this means.  This is my reply.  Feel free to add or correct my answer respectfully:


Basically it just means treating an interpretation of the Bible (or a Bible passage – in this case the creation narratives (Gen 1-11)) as though it were somehow infallible (that interpretation couldn’t possibly be wrong no matter what) – when in reality because of our fallibility as humans, no one person’s interpretation of a particular Bible passage is infallible (necessarily), only the Bible is infallible.

We also have to remember too the Bible is not God and God is not the Bible – only God is God and the Bible represents his written word to us, but it isn’t God, so we should not worship the Bible (or overly exalt a particular interpretation), we should only worship God alone. I know this sounds ludicrous but it does happen.

I say this because when someone treats a particular interpretation of a Bible passage as somehow infallible, that is akin to worshiping the Bible (also referred to as idolatrizing the Bible, when an idol is something that is set up against the knowledge of God – and sadly enough, some people do interact with the Bible in a fashion that keeps them from knowing God on a personal level (though they may know tonsabout him – they don’t really know him. And in the case of this discussion on the Genesis  creation narrative, such a thing can and has happened to YEC’ers or OEC’ers – it is also a trait of many in fundamentalist circles (though certainly not all).

This is primarily why how Ken Ham has been going about castigating myself and the AG for their position on the doctrine of creation is extremely concerning, if not dangerous, and needs to be corrected or altogether avoided.

I hope that helps some.

note: the bolded parts are merely for emphasis and to highlight key statements.

comments are now closed. thanks for the interaction.
ps, it seems that Theologian and Church Historian Roger Olsen has similar feelings as what I posted here.

Rolling review of Hugh Ross’ The Genesis Question.

I will be doing a rolling review of Hugh Ross’ controversial book The Genesis Question: Scientific Advances and the Accuracy of Genesis (Navpress, 2nd edition, 2001).

As I noted this is a review and any comments I personally deem  negative, inappropriate or divisive will immediately be deleted.  I won’t kill every negative comment – it will be on a case by case basis.  I know the book isn’t perfect and if there is something I come across I may disagree with (which will be hard since I am not a scientist) I will try to address it.

So, Hugh Ross is a PhD in Astronomy and did his undergrad in Physics.  He is a one time minister of evangelism and founder of the ministry Reasons to Believe.  In this book he deals with Genesis 1-11 and in process interacts with various scientific discoveries and advances  as they relate to the Genesis Narrative and help us understand the text.

This is interesting but I think we all need to recognize that the ancients did not have a sense of time as we do and did not necessarily think of the creation event in the detailed way we want to do today.  Their approach was less exact than what many moderns want out of the text.   That said, it is interesting to think about.  At the same time we really do neec to be careful not to stake ourselves into a position and then make that position as though it were the very heart of the gospel itself – both sides of the YEC v. OEC debate need to watch for this – there is much about the creation event we do not know – not all the details are there (oops, are those “gaps”?)

But it does bring up an issue I wanted to share from the book.  Ross writes the following at the end of Chapter two on “Reasons for resistance” to letting science in one form or another influence how we might understand the creation event:

….intellectual questions about Genesis are understandable, even expected.  If they are genuine, the person who raises them will show a willingness to listen and explore possible answers.  However, not everyone who raises questions really wants a response.  Some seem interested in arguing.  Some just walk away.  Why?

How a person interprets the first eleven chapters of Genesis may be determined by how that person responds to some other part of the Bible.  For example, if a person has been badly hurt or mistreated by someone bearing the “Christian” or “biblical” label, objectivity probably has been lost.  If a person objects to biblical teachings (rightly or wrongly interpreted) on moral issues, objectivity probably has been lost.

Other fears come from misunderstanding the biblical definition of of faith.  The prevailing view exalts “blind” faith and rejects the principle that facts are the crucial foundation for a meaningful faith.  The misapplied mandate to “walk by  faith, not by sight” frequently causes problems.  Perhaps a deeper fear, more difficult to express, is that connecting faith to scientific facts subordinates the Bible to human endeavors or places Scripture at risk of contradiction by new discoveries that could overturn previously developed interpretations.

Herein lies a paradox.  People who seem most concerned with defending biblical inerrancy may be the most resistant to any information, not derived from the Bible, that might help illuminate its meaning.  Logically, taking Scripture seriously means being passionately concerned about interpreting it correctly and this welcoming any evidence that exposes erroneous understandings of the biblical text.  Unfortunately, many zealous Bible students and teachers confuse their favorite interpretations of the Bible with the Bible itself (15-16).

Yay!!  This is a slam dunk!  A Home Run!!  This is exactly the issue and addresses the problem of “circling the wagons” that has been going on lately especially among more conservative Christians – they are confusing their favorite interpretations of the Bible with the Bible itself – even God himself.  I suppose too this can happen on both sides, but right now I see a lot of that “bunker mentality” among conservatives and it’s sad really.

We have to remember, creation may be an element of the gospel message, but it is not the gospel itself, Jesus Christ and him crucified is the gospel message.   If creation has an element of the gospel in it, we see it in verses 2-3 where God’s first act of redemption is in overcoming the chaotic and void darkness of the earth to bring light and life into the creation.   God saying “Let there be light” was his first speech act of redemption in the created order.

All for now.