This is my favorite couple of paragraphs!
“In order to understand the text through the eyes of the original readers, I had to learn to read it not literally but literarily because it is literature of their time and culture, not mine… . . . The goal of proper biblical hermeneutics (interpreting the Bible) is to understand the text through the eyes of its original writers and readers. If we are to believe that “in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth,” we must believe what God means by that proposition within their cultural context, not what it means to us within our cultural context.”
“As a Western Christian addressing the varying interpretations of the Bible I had been claiming, “I just believe what the Bible says, plain and simple.” But I eventually came to discover that this hermeneutic is actually an egregious usurpation of God’s Word[:]”
o - It was plain and simple to the ancient Near Eastern mind that the naming of things exerts covenantal authority over them (Gen. 2:19).
o - It is plain and simple to my modern mind that names are merely taxonomic references for things.
o - It was plain and simple to the ancient Near Eastern mind that creation accounts are about deity giving order, purpose and function to the world.
o - It is plain and simple to my modern mind that a creation account should be about how material substance came into existence. Plain and simple is not so plain or simple after all.
As I researched further, I had to be honest and admit that the Scriptures do in fact contain common ancient Near Eastern cosmological notions that do not comport with modern scientific paradigms:
o - “earth” as an immovable (Psa. 104:5) [object, not a constantly moving continent]
o - [“earth” as a] flat circular disk of land (Isa. 40:22)
o - [“earth” is] on foundational pillars (2 Sam. 2:8)
o - [“earth” is] surrounded by a circle of water (Prov. 8:27)
o - [ “the water” ] goes to the edge of a solid dome sky (Job 37:18, 22:14)
o - [“the solid sky”] holds back waters above (Psa. 104:2, 148:8)
o - [ “the solid sky” has ] floodgates to release rain (Gen. 7:11)
o - with God’s throne above those waters (Psa. 104:2),
o - and all in a three-tiered universe of heavens, earth and underworld (Phil. 2:10).
“And this model isn’t just vaguely referenced in a couple of obscure passages, it is woven through the entire text of both Old and New Testaments! It is not that the Bible teaches this model as absolute reality, but rather that the writers assumed the model in their understanding, and God chose not to “correct” their view.”
@Reggie_O_Donoghue, just some fun-reading…