John Walton's logic on Genesis 1


(Daniel Pech) #1

Throughout the Centuries, Christians and Jews have granted that Genesis 1 is meant to provide the basis of answers for a wide variety of issues, and some of that basis overlapping or co-extensive. John Walton (2014) denies that it provides the basis for answers to the material origins of life and of life’s supports. Instead, Walton thinks the ancient narrator’s only intent for invoking the general material cosmos was to tell of God’s benevolence toward humans in the already-existing mere life-support functions of the death-burdened natural world.

Apart from any cultural inheritance, a human person most naturally sees the text to explain, among other things, the basics of how the natural world functionally coheres, and this by way of the chronology according to which the hierarchy of that world’s basic parts were intimately combined together to make the ecological whole. But Walton is rather given to an essentially atheistic conception as to what an account of material origins, as such, looks like: brutish, non-functional, and overwhelmingly impersonal (36:11-36:34). Walton calls it the ‘House Story’ as opposed to the ‘Home Story’. He claims that, in an account of the material origins even of Earth only, ‘we are insignificant; a bundle of carbon cells, on a planet in a vast universe’ (38:39). And, since Genesis 1 does not once delve into the impersonal mere facts of materiality, Walton concludes that, of all the things it does address, Genesis 1 does not address material origins.

Walton is not alone in all this. For example, Ard Louis (2010) and N. T. Wright (2010) seem virtually to believe that, if we allow that Genesis 1 even partly is about material origins, we inherently, if not also immediately, ‘flatten out’ the account—less or more—to that of a material, chronological, and ‘journalistic’ character. Walton, for his part, rather conflates a concern for material origins with that for such things as trivially universal physics (21:13-22:18). This conflation is quite deeply made by Puhalo (2011), who seems very confident that any Divinely true account of material origins of the cosmos, no matter how short-and-sweet its focus, necessarily mentions such things as atomic elements, ‘atomic structures’, gravity, and so forth. Walton, in regard to the pair of subjects in Genesis 1:1, intuits something similar for any merely human account of the Divine acts of material creation of the cosmos: that all humans, no matter their particular focus of interest thereto, only naturally would, at the very least, include in such an account some initial mention that matter, as such, is created (29:14-29:44; 30:34-30:53).

Louis, Ard (2010): ‘Ard Louis on Interpreting Genesis’. Youtube, Biologos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3uUAgyJfNo. (http://biologos.org/resources/audio-visual/ard-louis-on-interpreting-genesis).

Puhalo, Lazar (2011): ‘Theology made simple: The Meaning of The Fall of Man.l’. Youtube, Lazar Puhalo: 03:18. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xN6IB-8glw
Puhalo claims that any account of material origins of the cosmos must at least make mention of such things as atomic elements and ‘atomic structures’; and that, since Genesis 1 does not do so, Genesis 1 is not an account of the material ‘creation of the universe’.

Walton, John (2014): ‘Understanding Genesis 1-3 - John Walton and Joe Fleener’. Youtube, Laidlaw College: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kOflP3eLSI. (Laidlaw College channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUSCQwlpu9Jx6nhabm6ZpZw)

Wright, N. T. (2010): ‘N.T. Wright on Adam and Eve’. Youtube, Biologos: 03:25. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BP1PpDyDCw.
Wright is inclined to believe that any favoring the idea of an actual six days in Genesis 1 is inherently and immediately to reduce, or ‘flatten out’ the text to such merely physical things.


(Matthew Pevarnik) #2

A human person? I think we know where this is going, you are ready to attack Walton of being an alien. I think most human persons get a little confused in reading the text plainly by day 2 in trying to figure out what the text really means. Or maybe even before there was light on day 1. One wonders what kind of world this was that existed and what the Spirit was doing.

That kind of was an important thing to do back in the day when the text was originally written. Many other cultures around them were worshiping elements of creation and the gods associated with them. And then for the text to say that ‘no, all of these things I made for you’ is quite powerful and would have been comforting and impactful to a early Israelite.

Oh boy. I see. So he’s not an alien, just a subhuman atheistic type of guy. This certainly is a thread I’m looking forward to.


(Daniel Pech) #3

Indeed. Nevertheless, applicability for polemics does not equate to a polemics intent. For example, 2+2 = 4 is not a polemic artifice against such things as ‘dishonest weights and measures.’

I thought I answered that in my OP. For one of at least two issues, I meant by ‘inherited’ culture that which is inherited socially, not biologically. Social cultures are cultures of conceptual scheme, and include everything from particular linguistic form to vocal accent. So there is nothing in the text itself that causes a reader to fail to see the possibility of pluperfect intent in certain of its parts. And the most natural controlling context for the whole account is v. 1.

Most moderns, including most YEC’s, just latch onto the most ‘plain’ reading for them, failing to realize that their sense of what plainness is is by no means entirely plain. By analogy, they accuse all who ‘talk with an accent’ of not knowing what ‘plain talking’ objectively sounds like.


(Daniel Pech) #4

On the one hand, Walton, in effect, presupposes that the Ancients’ were insensible dunces because of their supposedly believing that the human intellect resided in the core organs such as the kidneys, heart, and entrails (2014: 19:06). On the other hand, Walton stresses that the meaning of others’ words, phrases, and such is determined by those words’ and phrases’ usage in a given instance by a given person or culture. But a person’s meaning for ‘mind’ in one culture cannot be determined by what a person in an appropriately different culture normally appeals to in regard to the ‘mind’.

So, in fact, if the Ancients were as ‘function’-oriented to daily natural life as Walton claims, then the only natural conclusion as to their usage of the notion that the ‘mind’ emanates from the region of the bowels is that they were expressing what, in most recent of modern times, is recognized as such things as the ‘embodied mind’. Thus Walton most likely is imposing on the words of Genesis 1 a rather modern conceptual scheme.

A typical modern view of the bowels is that they are merely servant to the brain. But the more sensible—if not the first ‘empirically established’—reality, is that the brain, and external organs of the head, is equally the servant of rest of the body. Surely Walton does not say that his own body lacks all internal and external sensible connection to his head. If it did, he could not sense any of itself or the eternal world, except by his seeing, smelling, and hearing it.

So, in fact, it would seem, without the body and its the extensive nerve connections to the brain, the brain would be greatly reduced in its ability to generate any thoughts in the first place. For example, fighter pilots whose brains temporarily loose their bodily senses react by providing their own senses from memory stores of past bodily experiences. This is much like how dreaming works.

So Walton imposes on the Ancient cultural world the still-popular, admittedly ignorant, modern conception that the ‘mind’ is effectively a rational organ with no mentally-significant connection to the body. This suggests that Walton’s entire position on Genesis 1 emanates from a sense, on the part of Walton himself, that the human mind is less or more a disembodied function for the apprehension of the particularly linguistic. This is distinguished from an embodied, functional, holistic, kind of propositionality. We do not first say “I see my hand”, we first simply see our hand. The linguistic expression of the fact is not the root substance of propositions or truth-value. The language simply is a mediator of, and cognitive enhancement for, the experience and its cognitive identity.

But, if, as Walton seems happy to allow, the modern human type evolved from at least some type of less-human human species, then it would seem likely that the Ancients’ focus on ‘function’ was a natural result of a pre-modern lack of capacity to perceive in the particular way that results in the official Scientific Establishment’s Rationalistic misconception of the mind during most of the last two Centuries: the mind is the language-chauvinistic autocrat of the body.

Walton, in effect, claims that every common ancient Egyptian individual lacked all sense that the inside of one’s head has any real function (2014b: 27:10+). This claim implicitly is comprised of the following premise-and-conclusion.

Premise: The official scientific medical Establishment of the Western world in the 1920’s had no official approval of the loads of things that were sensed by most common Westerners in all eras.

Conclusion: Therefore, the broad informal culture of the West in the 1920’s lacked any sense of the things that now are recognized by the Scientific/Medical Establishment.

This Premise-Conclusion is obscenely condescending to the human individual, and to kinds of communities that respect the individual as such. It reduces the individual to a senseless organ that can never know any thing that’s true unless that Establishment first officially affirms something as being true. The modern ‘Homeschool’ movement has fought for decades against that very kind of condescension: against the naïve segment of the Bell Curve beneficiaries to the hegemony of the ‘Educational’ Establishment.

Does Walton not know of the recent official academic recognition of such physiological facts as the ‘embodied’ mind’? What normal humans are so vapidly insensible within their own bodies as to fail to have an at least subconscious intuition of their bodies in regard to the thing that, in the Far East, is called ‘Qi’ or ‘Chi’? That’s the core organs and the entrails, which alone actually materially meet the Earth through Earth’s products. Unlike many moderns in the last two dozen decades, the ancients were not obsessed with the idea of merely, and ‘objectively’, observing, probing, and controlling. They were more immersed in the natural world, and so would have felt that the proper center of mind was where their physiologically visceral selves was most directly in relation to the material world.

The New Testament makes apt spiritual metaphor of the physiological head. It seems Walton would reduce this to a ‘scientific’ knowledge that had prior been officially established in the ancient Near East. But, did not the ancients commonly and normally experience that we today experience inside our heads? I can sense that my thoughts are inside my head, not inside my bowels. And surely the ancients commonly experienced such things as ‘light-headedness’, loss of balance, and the very ability to visually and logically imagine.

So it seems that Walton simply picks what is most popularly portrayed of the ancients, and uses this to support a rather trivializing view of an admittedly very complex, and by all appearances normally roundly immersed, ancient text.


(Daniel Pech) #5

In one thing at least, Walton is right on the money: Genesis 1 is about life, not about trivially universal physics. Most YEC’s are just acting the mob by being happy to claim that certain parts of Genesis 1 is mainly or even even exclusively about such physics.

And my argument against the anti-Material Origins position that Walton takes is as much an argument against that status quo in YEC.

On what hermeneutic basis do those such as the YEC Morris clan make a life-indifferent interpretation of the first part of the text? The answer, which I explain in this post, is that it is made on a polemics-centric hermeneutic as applied to the material-origins approach to the account, and for which a life-indifferent interpretation is a bi-product.

When Adam and Eve acquired the Creation account, they had not yet inherited any culture that involved cosmological atheism or any other superstition on origins. Most to the point, they had not yet been surrounded by the kinds of sophisticated unbelievers that functioned for Theophilus and Basil to define the outer boundaries of that scholarly pair’s own hermeneutic envelope. Theophilus and Basil, in the early Centuries A.D., respectively wrote:

begin quote

God[, in His] foreknowledge (…)understood the nonsense of the foolish philosophers who were going to say that the things produced on earth come from the stars, so that they might set God aside. In order therefore that the truth [of God’s creator-hood] might be demonstrated, [God was polemically motivated to cause] plants and seeds [to come] into existence [prior to that of] the stars.

[I]n order that those who live in ignorance of God may not consider the sun as the origin and the father of light, or as the maker of all that grows out of the earth[, God created and formed the Earth and plants prior to creating the sun.]

End quote

Theophilus does not explain how this admittedly odd order should discourage the unbelieving turn of mind. And Basil, for his part, gives no indication of knowing how a mere record that he supposes teaches such an oddity can even begin to correct those who live and die without ever hearing it.

So, if Theophilus and Basil felt that this interpretation accomplishes anything, they did not spell out how it accomplishes it. Instead they seem to have taken for granted that God was motivated to what can only be described as a kind of tit-for-tat: God would naturally have created the luminaries prior to creating the Earth. But, because He had foreknowledge that humans would become superstitiously in favor of the luminaries, even to denying that God exists as Creator, God ‘turned the tables’ on such humans. This is essentially what Theophilus and Basil reasoned.

But Theophilous and Basil do not even explain how such metaphorical table-turning actually was turned. On whom was it turned? And did those on whom it supposedly was turned care that some Theistic religion’s sacred account of Creation turn it on them? Again, Theophilus does not explain how this admittedly odd order should discourage the unbelieving turn of mind. Did he assume this would be accomplished only when they died and realized that (according to Theophilus) God really did create Earth prior to creating the luminaries? If this assumption was that which Theophilus was making, then Theophilus was rendering God to have the same shallow angst against unbelievers that Theophilus apparently had. Either way, this polemic-centric pragmatic interpretation is unprecedented to any fully systematic Theology of all of the Bible’s key portions.

So, if that polemic-centric pragmatic interpretation of the explicated luminaries of Genesis 1 is correct, then it would seem that God, in His preemptive creational reversal of the admittedly God-ordained hierarchy of immediate material dependencies, accomplished only one dubious effect: engendering an arrogant kind of polemicism on the part of those who, in espousing loyalty to that Creation text, also happen to espouse this ostensibly most normal interpretation of it. Specifically, this is the interpretation according to which every crucial detail to understanding every basic part of the account is spelled out in the account for every idiot. In other words, every basic part of the account is 100% explicit in terms of every one of that part’s own basics.

Yet this singular fixation on a 100% explicit kind of ‘plainness’ in Genesis 1 is that self-same ‘plainness’ according to which Genesis 2 ever is perceived, mistakenly, to materially contradict Genesis 1! Popularizers such as Sarfati (2015) realize the verb form issue for Genesis 2: Biblical Hebrew has no past-tense form of verb for such words that correspond to the English ‘had’.

Sarfati 2015, talk on ‘The Genesis Account’, youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6PTiBZB7dk (time code 16:29-17:04)

But all such popularizers keep failing to apply that same fact to Genesis 1. They fail this because they have inherited the polemic-pragmatist tradition rationalized by Theophilus and Basil. Therefore, according to such status quo YEC’s today, there simply is no such problem in Genesis 1: every last word and phrase in the account is meant in the present tense of the actions therein listed. This means that, despite the normal way of understanding the particular unexplained details of any account that has those of Genesis 1, those of Genesis 1 are included in the presupposition that Genesis 1 consists in nothing but a blow-by-blow, utterance-by-utterance self report on the part of God: It is 100% God’s reporting what He said and did at the particular points in the Creation Week itself at which He said and did it. This may be the most neurocognitively easy presupposition upon which to argue from the account. But it is admittedly ignorantly premature, as best.

And today, with the broad advances in physics, the status quo in YEC is content to presume that God had both theological and scientific reasons to create the Earth prior to creating the luminaries. This is just the easiest thing to assume, not necessarily the most effective for understanding the peculiar details of the account.
So the interpretation made by Theophilus and Basil, and conveniently abided ever since, seems to be nothing but a pragmatic polemicism that merely finds post hoc rationalizations. In most recent times this has allowed a physics-chauvinist hermeneutic to presume upon the entire first eight verses of the text. The result is a kind of theft of these verses from their God-given normal, universal interpretation (((((such as DeRemer et al: 2007: DeRemer, Frank, w/ Mark Amunrud and Delmar Dobberpuhl (2007): Days 1-4. Journal of Creation 21, no.3:69-76, https://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j21_3/j21_3_69-76.pdf.))))).

According to the physics-chauvinistic hermeneutic used by DeRemer et al, the God-given normal interpretation is both theologically inferior and theologically erroneous: God, in his foreknowledge of atheist cosmologies, was culturally envious of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos TV show. As if that is not too much to swallow, the ‘grandeur’ and ‘majesty’ of such a rendering of the first eight verses leaves Earth akin to a woman-shaped mannequin (vs. 9-10) that God must arbitrarily and barely dress (vs. 11-12), and then arbitrarily impregnate (vs. 20-25). So as witness of YEC Faulkner, Humphreys, and many others, seemingly most modern YECs today happily devalue the supposedly most mundane, and therefore seemingly most insignificant, member of Genesis chapter one: Earth as life-support system. Apart from its accounting of humans, the text easily is singularly about that system, both in its geophysical and living halves. Humans were given a complete home in the cosmos, not left to wait and watch in a space ship as God went about polemically showing them that He, not an atheistic cosmos, first imbued the ‘atomically unstructured’ ‘prematter’ (h’erets of v. 1) with the atomic structure that emits energy (v. 3).

The best general defense, therefore, that this status quo among YEC has for the particular duration of the Creation act is what the Bible merely spells out about it (Exodus 20:11). And the best special defense thereto (DeRemer et al) is that God wanted to show that He could complete the Creation work much more rapidly, and without flaw, than can the billions of years that ostensibly is sufficient to evolve everything to its current, death-ridden condition. So the only motivation, to speak of, that comes from that status quo is a rush to carefully show how the account is not short on the trivially universal, most life-indifferent kind of physics to which secular-atheist cosmologies ultimately appeal. Adam was made from dust, ‘so we need to show how account, instead, begins simply of dust.’ Except, mere plain dust is not sophisticated, so this first possible effort is ignored. So, when dust is found to be made of atoms, that’s when ‘the account must begin with atoms, instead of the actual planet.’ Likewise for subatomic particles, and so on. This is essentially, and only, a tit-for-tat apologetics. The text allows for any advance in life-indifferent, trivially universal physics. So, when any advance is made, that advance is used to impugn the account’s conceivable concern for Earth as theologically inferior, and therefore interpretively mistaken.

Therefore, many ‘YEC’‘s today (such as DeRemer et al) are blind to the fact that, in a cosmos created for life, there is no—I repeat, no—mutual exclusion between a physics and a terrestrial consideration of the text. This is because The Prime account for humans, given its very explication of concrete origins of that life-supportive Earth, inherently suggests all of the physics details. The cosmos is, after all, a cosmos, with a single central member. It is not a set of mutually alien parts all scattered randomly in space that only happened to evolve life. A created cosmos is how life is central to a life-indifferent conception of physics, but not the other way. Life, and life’s home, is the sole central issue of the Creation account, and only in this way is the first verse explicitly inclusive of the entire universe with all its physics. Even the portion that specifies the luminaries does so not as a matter of astronomy proper, but, rather, as that of the luminaries’ relation to life on Earth.

So even this textually central portion of the account, which is only part of the account that explicates anything about the luminaries, is centrally only about life on Earth. Genesis 1 is not a Christian’s version of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos TV show. Humans’ only God-given central conceptual scheme is life and its supports, and this in their view of everything from the ground. God not only saves the sinner ‘as he is’, God communicates to humans by addressing us where we are made to be. This is Genesis 1. Even as God made the Earth to be inhabited, He made our minds to be centrally in mind of a living planet. Even all of Genesis 1 flows in that direction, as seen in the sequence in which v. 1 presents its two subjects.

Thus Walton rightly complains about the interpretation, popularized by YEC Morris, that v. 1 does not so much mean the actual Earth as mere matter. But Walton focuses his complaint on this physics-chauvinistic interpretation of v. 3. If the typical YEC feels that Walton’s complaint in that matter is unjust, then consider how strongly Walton would have complained against it had he grown up under a physics-first model such as that of DeRemer et al (mentioned above). That physics-first model argues that the entire first eight verses make no explicit mention of anything to do specifically with life. Accordingly, it renders theologically inferior the universally normal, Earth-focused reading of the first eight verses. In fact, DeRemer et al employ a hermeneutic that takes simple linear computer programming as the apex of human logical-philosophical fitness. Consequently, their physics-first model presupposes not only a mutual exclusivity between explicit meaning and implicit allowance, but one that favors the physics-focused consideration of the main subjects. So their model not only sees the entire eight verses as explicitly describing only physics, it is a model logically compelled to deny the Earth-focused reading under the impression that that reading, likewise, necessarily excludes physics-focused consideration of the subjects and sequences! By analogy to the most male chauvinist way of thinking, since a man, by definition is better at being a man, the man presumes that a woman most naturally competes against him despite he admits that she is non-competitive in nature. In other, metaphorical terms, who is the wedding for?

So, surely, Adam had no polemic-centric perception of Genesis 1, least of all of the vv. 1-3 and 14-18 set. After all, Adam is the most likely, of all named candidates, to have first understood the life-centric conceptual scheme within which the ancient Hebrew language operates. This is that scheme only according to which is there a complete sense in verses such as Luke 23:44, Exodus 14:20, Deuteronomy 4:11, Joshua 24:7, 2Samuel 22:12, Job 3:5, Job 17:12, Job 22:11, Job 38:9, Psalm 18:11. These verses show how the ‘darkness upon’ in Genesis 1:2b makes the particular specified location of the ‘spirit’ in v. 2c anything more than a inessential, merely ‘theological’ mention.

By contrast, the conceptual scheme of modern English is probably the most ‘secular’ and life-neutral scheme in history. Fortunately for us moderns, the entire Bible in English translation still evinces the Hebrew conceptual scheme when it concerns Genesis 1. For, nowhere does the Bible instruct us to abandon that God-given most humanly normal point of view when approaching the Creation account. For, the textual fact is that Adam and Eve began their existence in the broad daylight, and on Earth.

And Adam and Eve surely understood the ancient language better than did Theophilus and Basil. Did that merely scholarly pair take into view the absence of the past-tense form of verb in Biblical Hebrew? Did that merely scholarly pair account for the one shared terminology of various, textually wide-ranging verses that inform on Genesis 1:2-3? Did Theophilus and Basil, in seeing the account’s initial specification of a location for God’s own activity, see a normal implication as to the particular location of the next pending action? Hugh Ross is wrong in so many basic things, including the fact that the account clearly implies that the Earth’s life-support system is as irreducibly complex as is any biological organism. But that only makes Ross’s essential claim to a dense cloud cover all the more right.

Had Theophilus and Basil not been so concerned for polemic pragmatism, they may have thought better than to render God arbitrarily polemic against what they already intuited was the materially normal sequence of creation. Then they would have understood the text in its own singular universal appeal to its sole normal audience: we humans who need to know how our home in the cosmos functions, not just that it functions.

When his first children were little, what did Adam teach them? Did he tell them of the account of Creation Week? And if so, what were his and theirs’ linguistic conceptual scheme for understanding each of its parts fully, and in sequence?

In regard to the interpretation made by Theophilus and Basil of the creation sequence of light and luminaries, it is felt by many today that my above criticism of that interpretation is ungodly, un-Biblical, etc… And, even of those who admit that my argument above is sound within its own express parameters, many of them will claim that the traditional, light-before-luminaries interpretation is not thereby strictly disproved. Some even will point out that light physically is more naturally prior to any of the luminaries. But that point not only makes my own point, it gets everything mixed up both as to (i) hermeneutic standards being used therein and (ii) the fact that the account cannot rightly be made to bear an inconsistency of subject for sake of universally trivial physics.

So, even if the claim, made by most YECs, that my above argument is not necessarily true to the intent of the account’s author, it must be noted that the very logic of maintaining the tradition begun by Theophilus is strictly unjustifiable within normal God-given standards of epistemology. And, contrary to a certain, admittedly ignorant interpretation of one Old Testament passage regarding Abraham and God, there is no Biblical precedent for the particular hermeneutic according to which that tradition exists.


(Jay Johnson) #6

You’re off to a bad start. In mummifying the pharaohs, the Egyptians would remove and preserve all the “important” internal organs except the brain, which was removed with a hook through the nose and discarded. Even wikipedia knows better:

During the second half of the first millennium BC, the Ancient Greeks developed differing views on the function of the brain. However, due to the fact that Hippocratic doctors did not practice dissection, because the human body was considered sacred, Greek views of brain function were generally uninformed by anatomical study. It is said that it was the Pythagorean Alcmaeon of Croton (6th and 5th centuries BC) who first considered the brain to be the place where the mind was located. According to ancient authorities, “he believed the seat of sensations is in the brain. This contains the governing faculty. All the senses are connected in some way with the brain; consequently they are incapable of action if the brain is disturbed…the power of the brain to synthesize sensations makes it also the seat of thought: The storing up of perceptions gives memory and belief and when these are stabilized you get knowledge.”[2] In the 4th century BC Hippocrates, believed the brain to be the seat of intelligence (based, among others before him, on Alcmaeon’s work). During the 4th century BC Aristotle thought that, while the heart was the seat of intelligence, the brain was a cooling mechanism for the blood. He reasoned that humans are more rational than the beasts because, among other reasons, they have a larger brain to cool their hot-bloodedness.[3]


(Jay Johnson) #7

It is a simple fact of language that word usage determines meaning, and since usage changes over time, the meanings of words also change over time.

No, the ancients weren’t expressing anything like “embodied mind.” They really didn’t know exact functions of various bodily organs. This didn’t make them insensible dunces (unless you classify Aristotle as one).


(Jon) #8

They never read it, so their putative view is irrelevant.

No. Adam and Eve had no knowledge of Hebrew at all. They also never read any of Genesis.


(Daniel Pech) #9

I know the details there. That’s not the issue, and I already explained why in the exemplary Premise and Conclusion (Didn’t you read it?)


(Daniel Pech) #10

‘They’ who? You make an unwarranted broad-brush there. I already point that out by a couple analogues: (1) The official statements of the Western Medical Establishment have never constituted the minds of the common people. (2) The official position of the Western Public Educational Hegemony has never constituted the minds of those individual families who educated their own children (as has been done in far places in Alaska since before that Hegemony ever existed).


(Daniel Pech) #11

Their proposed existence (and thus what they knew, thought, etc.) is not my point in invoking them. I assumed that was abundantly clear.

But I find it telling that such trivial details in my posts in this thread are the only things you’ve found to criticize in them.


(Jon) #12

I believe they existed. They were genuine historical people in my view. Your point relies on what they actually thought and knew. That is abundantly clear. I am pointing out to you that they never read Genesis and they never knew Hebrew, so your claims that “Adam had no polemic-centric perception of Genesis 1, least of all of the vv. 1-3 and 14-18 set” and “And Adam and Eve surely understood the ancient language better than did Theophilus and Basil” are simply false.


(Jon) #13

In case it’s not clear.

  1. Hebrew did not exist until over 1,000 years after Adam and Eve lived.
  2. Genesis 1-11 was not written until the Babylonian exile.

(Jay Johnson) #14

The issue is that you routinely state a premise as fact when it isn’t a fact, and then spend a great deal of time spinning out the logical ramifications of your premises, which were faulty to begin with. In this particular case, you assert that “Walton, in effect, presupposes that the Ancients’ were insensible dunces because of their supposedly believing that the human intellect resided in the core organs such as the kidneys, heart, and entrails (2014: 19:06).” As I showed earlier, the first man to connect the brain with “mind” was Alcmaeon in the 6th century B.C.

Sorry, Daniel, but when you can’t even get basic facts straight, all the densely logical prose in the world won’t make up for it. Your OP had some interesting points, but I’m not sure that you accurately represent the views that you argue against. So far, your record hasn’t been very good. Since I don’t have the time or energy to fact-check everything you say, I’m not really going to engage with this thread very much.

Just for the record, Walton has responded to similar charges here before:



(George Brooks) #15

Frankly, I don’t even know what @Daniel_Pech hopes to accomplish going after John Walton’s views, assuming he ever summarizes them correctly.

BioLogos does not rise or fall based on John Walton’s success.


(Daniel Pech) #16

That’s an argument from documentation, with is patently erroneous: No document = no facts; First document about = first human knowledge of.


(George Brooks) #17

Hey, @Daniel_Pech, do you think you could just allow the discussion to flow a little before you start throwing gloves down about fallacies and erroneous logic?

I mean, frankly, I could barely type this post because you are becoming so predictably hilarious!

For example, @Jay313 wrote this:

“The issue is that you routinely state a premise as fact when it isn’t a fact, and then spend a great deal of time spinning out the logical ramifications of your premises, which were faulty to begin with. In this particular case, you assert that “Walton, in effect, presupposes that the Ancients’ were insensible dunces because of their supposedly believing that the human intellect resided in the core organs such as the kidneys, heart, and entrails (2014: 19:06).” As I showed earlier, the first man to connect the brain with “mind” was Alcmaeon in the 6th century B.C.”

So what is your only response? You don’t disagree and then extend your discussion further. No.

You actually fulfilled Jay’s charge about you “routinely state a premise as a fact when it isin’t a fact… then spend a great deal of time spinning out the logical ramifications of your premises…” < Hilarious, right?

But I’ll give you points on style this time. Instead of making a positive affirmation of a fact, this time your fact is the denial that Jay’s premise is a fact! Yes! Very stylish response!

I think you should start another thread. This one is a bit of a dog… it doesn’t really accomplish anything for you … or does it? What do you think a successful conclusion of this thread would be?


(Chris Falter) #18

What would be a better approach? Should we conduct an interview with an ancient Hebrew born earlier–say 900 BC–and ask him about his childhood beliefs?


(Daniel Pech) #19

Argument from document is not a sound approach. Period. It’s saying that a lack of any ancient documents, or other hard ancient evidence, about any ideas means that ancient people did not know of all those ideas. Its ridiculous. It’s like believing that, for all the things that your child has never written about, your child has never thought about those things. LOL. There is no plausible support for such a belief.

As to the objection, made by one of you, against the claim that the ancients had some visceral sense of what today is called ‘embodied mind’, one question is why, if they had no such sense, then why did any of them ever preserve the core organs at all? Most peoples in all of history did not mummify their dead, so shall we say that those peoples lacked all sense about what is what inside their own flesh? That’s the logic of argument from hard ancient evidence. And you all already admit that we today do not possess any hard ancient evidence of most ancient individuals, much less that most of them thought anything at all. So, according to the argument from hard evidence, lots and lots of them had no thoughts or perceptions at all. And when, according to record, Jesus said nothing at a particular point, that must mean Jesus thought nothing, and knew nothing, at that point. That’s the logic From Hard Evidence Only. It’s absurd.


(Daniel Pech) #20

Why should I spend any of my side in this discussion disagreeing with so many things you all keep saying, and then have you expect me to satisfy your goal posts of valid/sound rebuttals. I keep finding that impossible. So there can be no normal discussion.

It’s like a Russian man of the 1950’s who, in being interrogated by ‘Re-Educators’ of the USSR, has no evidence but reason for why Communist Dictatorship is wrong, and so his ‘Re-Educators’ are all the more sure that he does not know what he is talking about.