I wanted to read the your articles and the two by Perry before I responded. I certainly respect the amount research and writing you’ve done on this topic, it seems like the whole of The Hump, in fact, is for people like myself, lol. For honesty’s sake, I read/skimmed Perry’s stuff.
I do agree pretty much exactly with your assessment of Molinism, but you give me way to much credit to think that I went through so much thought to come to my conclusion of the, “gets in done on its own” view of nature. I simply see the indeterminate parts of nature as indeterminate only in evolved man’s eyes in 2017, not in God’s eyes. In short, God can pull it off because He’s God. (I don’t have to prove God isn’t working, as you earlier stated, any more that you have to prove that He is). Since it can’t be shown that God is or isn’t working in nature, and nature seems to hum along by its own, then I’m, through faith in a providential God, assuming that God initiated the physical creation to evolve us without any ongoing, “participation” on His part. Of course things are different with humans on earth making decisions, and this is where I see God working in the world, including in nature, to promote His kingdom and individual’s salvations, often, but not always, in the form of answering prayers. I don’t, though, see this as such a stark duality as you (and others) do.
I’m afraid you won’t find this satisfying, but, though it was well thought out, I didn’t find the material all that convincing. It seemed like most stuff I’ve read on, “raqia” from all sides, and i would summarize that as, “I’ll interpret the data according to my preferences and quote mostly from scholars who agree with my notion of what is correct” For right now I’m going with the, “vault” in Genesis 1 as being solid, based only on how I currently see the balance of the evidence, though whether it is or not doesn’t affect my overall view of the text. A good case for that view can be found here or in Peter Enn’s piece here, both of which I find representative. I am surprised you don’t see a framework structure in G1, which seems obvious to me.
Without getting into all the details of the yours and Perry’s articles, I’ll mention 3 things that stuck with me. One, in Perry’s comment on Job 37:18, “Can you, with him, spread out the skies (shachaq ), strong as a molten mirror?” (NASB), he said that the sky is only, 'like a molten mirror", not, “a molten mirror”, when it actually says, “strong as a molten mirror”. Here is the KJV, “Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?” Every English interpretation I looked at, 4 or 5, has, “strong” or, “hard as” in the passage. It seems pretty clear what the Job writer was trying to get across. On in interesting side note, Perry uses the KJV in part 2 of his article, presumably since it fit more his purposes for that piece.
Two, I simply don’t accept your assertion that waters above the earth in Genesis 1 are referring to clouds. The vault is called the sky, which is typically blue, and looks like the changing blue water in sea or lake - so the vault comes from a phenomenological view of something (whatever it’s made of) holding the water above the earth (land), (and making it reasonable that the ancients would see this thing as solid). This water is clearly the cosmic waters - we don’t even need other ANE skies to make this point, since other passages talk about the waters above the skies with never a mention of clouds. So I’m afraid that you are guilty here of a specific case of biblical eisegesis, and even maybe an attempt at concordance. As such, this kind of throws a big monkey wrench in your phenomenological interpretation of Genesis 1.
Three, I don’t think that the assumption that the OT biblical authors were not influenced by their neighbors’ views is warranted, at least it wasn’t demonstrated. Occam’s Razor may be instrumental here - if those authors describe a physical worldview that seems suspiciously like a 3-tiered universe, that agrees, in an overall sense, to the worldview of its time, then they probably were influence by it. I concede that this isn’t a well developed conclusion based on a thorough investigation of the subject, but more, “what I’m going with at this time since proponents of each side of the argument make credible cases but the balance of the argument as I see it now is on the side of influence.” Back to point, this and the above points seem to rest on conjecture more than anything else.
The reason for our differing views may stem from our views on the bible itself. I’f I’m not mistaken, you hold to biblical inerrancy of the Chicago statement variety (which is the default definition in today’s evangelical world) and the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, neither of which I hold to.
But I’d like to be gracious and state that you really do have some good stuff on this, that I’m sure will vibe with a lot of believers, but maybe built on one or two assertions that we disagree on, perhaps due to our views on the bible. As such I’m allowing you to get the last word in. Plus, this exchange is getting a bit drawn out. (I will respond if you have questions).
One last thing, and I see this with all Christian love, I’ve noticed when perusing articles on your site that there is often a reference to, “Biologos types”. I’m sure you (or whoever wrote it) don’t mean them to be, but it can come across as a little bit divisive. FWIW