Steve Ham critique of John Walton

I’ve been engaging recently in conversation with a pastor friend who is interested in John Walton’s stuff. I sent him a few of JW’s videos on Lost World of Genesis 1 and Lost World of Adam and Eve. He responded that it was really intriguing for him, and that he wanted to dig a little deeper into it. He passed the videos off to his old OT professor for input, and his professor sent him a critique of Walton’s work written by Steve Ham (Ken’s brother).

I’m working through Steve’s article on my own, but don’t have much experience critiquing works like this. I was wondering if anyone else has read this article themselves or would be interested in taking a look to assist in helping me uncover what Steve may be doing that is fair and what isn’t.

lost-world-adam-eve-response.pdf (answersingenesis.org)

Hi Ethan, and welcome to the forum! I’m not able to read the whole article right now, but just reading through the abstract and the conclusion, it’s about what I would expect from the AIG viewpoint. For example, this quote from the conclusion:

Walton has provided an example of what happens
when one gives extra-biblical texts magisterial
authority over the text of Scripture.

He sees Walton’s attempts to place Genesis in its cultural context as giving those cultures “authority” over the Bible. Whereas Walton has basically argued that forcing Genesis to fit into the material assumptions of our current, Western, twenty-first century culture is cultural imperialism. Either way, culture will affect interpretation – that’s inescapable. We might as well learn what we can about the culture Genesis came out of. Sometimes I think hardline YEC adherents want to see the Bible as something that was simply dropped out of the sky for us to read as a reference manual. I simply can’t share that assumption anymore.

Also, in addition to the fear of “accommodating” evolution, another of their fears seems to be this:

An acceptance
of Walton’s view is essentially to make a statement
that the church has been without access to the real
meaning of Scripture for over 1800 years.

The real meaning of Scripture should point to Jesus, always. The idea that if we don’t get the functional vs. material meaning of Genesis exactly right, we’ll never know the “real meaning” of Scripture also strikes me as wrong-headed and missing the point. Genesis is important, for sure. But I’m afraid the idea that we’ll end up “throwing out the entire Bible” (as AIG has said elsewhere) if we don’t get every iota of Genesis exactly right with scientific evidence to support it may end up backfiring in that it makes the truth of Jesus dependent on us “getting it right.”

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Which makes it strange that AIG then turns right around and makes our present cultural understandings effectively have authority over the bible! [by insisting that our science-minded questions are the important ones to be addressed as opposed to the questions the cultures of those times would have brought to bear.] And that, more than anything, implies that the real meaning of scriptures has been witheld for “1800” years, since the poor original audiences could have had no way of knowing that it was all written for the benefit of a special kind of “scientific skepticism” that wouldn’t exist yet for over a thousand years.

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Exactly! There are many areas where our culture, gender, social status, and more can affect how we read Scripture. It doesn’t make any of those things bad, or mean that there’s one particular culture that’s superior to all the others – it just means we should practice awareness. Our science-based, materialistic culture has achieved some amazing things. But it may not provide the best framework to understand the original intent of Genesis.

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Ding-ding-ding!

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A 13 page critique by the YECist heir apparent of an attempt to wean people off YEC shows how $eriously The Son of Ken takes this.

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