Hey folks, new here, and am still trying to get used to the layout. Hopefully I’m doing this right.
I only skimmed through the thread, but I didn’t see it mentioned, and wondered what you all make of John Sailhamer’s view of Genesis 1 and 2 as he laid it out in his book Genesis Unbound?
Christy linked to several approaches to the Genesis narrative, but I didn’t see Sailhamer’s approach, that he called Historical Creationism, listed.
Historical Creationism is somewhat similar to the Gap theory, but different in a number of key ways. Sailhamer takes the sentence, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, and points out that “heavens and earth” is a merism for all of creation, and that this creative act took place at some indeterminate time in the past. So, basically all of creation happens in that first sentence at some point in time that is never fully revealed. Sailhamer goes on to argue that the rest of the Genesis narrative is not a reference to the creation of the earth, but instead to the preparation of the Promised Land (the Promised Land being the primary focus of the Torah). Sailhamer posits that before this preparation, the area that would become the Promised Land was a wilderness that God brings order to. So, when God commands “Let there be light”, this is not exactly a creative act (creation of the sun and moon were already accomplished in verse 1), rather it’s an ordering of the wilderness. Sailhamer also is in agreement with John Walton that there is a sense of associating purpose to these things.
A good summary on Sailhamer’s approach can be found on John Piper’s website here, Science, the Bible, and the Promised Land | Desiring God
What I like about this view is that it provides a literalist reading of the Genesis 1 narrative that is still Old Earth Creationist in nature. The one area I take issue with Sailhamer is that he rejects evolution, particularly human evolution, but his reasons for doing so don’t appear to me to be very good, and I think one can hold to a Theistic Evolutionist view, and still find Sailhamer’s Historical Creationist view handy. Adam and Eve are still uniquely created beings in that, while they may not be the first man and woman, they are the first man and woman made in God’s image…that they are the first man and woman who have God’s spirit in them.
Anyhow, just wondered if you all were familiar with Sailhamer’s view, and what you thought of it!