"If we accept Genesis 1 as ancient cosmology, then we need to interpret it as ancient cosmology rather than translate it into modern cosmology. If we try to turn it into modern cosmology, we are making the text say something that it never said. It is not just a case of adding meaning (as more information has become available) it is a case of changing meaning. Since we view the text as authoritative, it is a dangerous thing to change the meaning of the text into something it never intended to say." -- John H. Walton, Ph.D (From here.)
|Dr. John Walton|
In recent years, John Walton, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College, has been both lauded and criticized for his interpretation of Genesis 1–2. In his 2009 landmark book, The Lost World of Genesis One (InterVarsity Press), he argued that to rightly understand Genesis 1—an ancient document—we need to read it within the context of the ancient world. Read alongside other ancient texts, he says, Genesis 1 is not about how God made the world, but about God assigning functions to every aspect of it. In 2013, Walton contributed a chapter in Four Views on the Historical Adam (Zondervan). There he argued that Adam was a historical person, but also that Adam’s primary function in Scripture is to represent all of humanity. For Walton, Genesis 1–2 is not concerned about human material origins, but rather about our God-given function and purpose: to be in relationship with God and work alongside him, as his image bearers, in bringing continued order to our world.
Read the full Christianity Today interview here.
What do you think?
Is Genesis 1-2, not about human origins?
Is Genesis 1-2 about relationships, function and purpose?
Is Adam a historical person in Genesis 1-2?
Does Adam represent all humanity in Genesis 1-2?
What is the original cultural context of Genesis 1-2?
What are the more important aspects of Genesis in Dr. Walton's thinking?
What are the first two Messianic references in Genesis?
I would be interested in readers' responses to these questions.
Related reading: The Themes of Genesis 1-3; Is Genesis Really About Human Origins?; Adam and Eve as Meta-Historical Ancestors; Adam Was a Red Man; Peter Leithart on John Walton's Lost World of Genesis One; The Dangers of Concordism; Facebook Conversation on Creationism