Concordism and Genesis 1-2

@Ronald_Cram, I’m with you. I see no harm in it!

That is not really concordism, seems to me.

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My experience of concordism, practically, is that of using proof-texts from the Bible to make wild and speculative statements about the world. I’ve watched Hugh Ross videos where he uses verses from Revelations to talk about the physics of Heaven, for instance. Or I’ve seen Psalm 8:8 used as proof that the Bible is divinely inspired and has modern science embedded in it. It seemed like concordism became a matching game to prove a particular theological interpretation.

If concordism is just simply of the two-books (God’s Word and God’s World), all truth is God’s truth, variety then I think most Christians would agree. That’s just not what I’ve experienced.

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It is great you can’t tell what I personally believe. That is all beside the point.

I’m avoiding picking sides, and focusing on opening wide the whole playing field. When I do advocate, it is usually for the overlooked value of minority positions. De novo creation is example of an overlooked minority position. I can make a solid case for its value, if you care to hear it.

Thank you also for paying attention to the Genealogical Adam. I think we have a real way forward. Peace.

Your criticism of Hugh Ross may be valid, but it is stated in terms too general for us to discuss or to learn from. If you could recap what he stated and why you think it is not valid, we may all learn something.

I was simply quoting from the article. How do you define concordism?

Yeah, my bad. I can’t find an online version of what he specifically said (it was a video at a local Reasons to Believe meeting a couple years back) so I’m relying on my memory and can’t be super specific. What I remember was that in the video Hugh was taking a passage from Revelation and mixing it with some science (quantum mechanics maybe) to explain something about how people will relate to each other in heaven.

I certainly don’t mind people being creative in their thoughts, but I felt Hugh presented it as “so that’s how it is” when there is no real reason to believe heaven would be anything like what he described. It was almost pure speculation. My concern wasn’t that his statement was invalid, per se. It was that the audience (mostly non-scientists) were taking whatever he said as being based on science, when it (heaven) is not even a subject that science can address. He could be right, he could be wrong, there’s no way to really know. I feel like he feels the need to have answers where there may just be mystery. In my opinion, concordism can often lead that way.

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Based on this comment, your criticism sounds like it could be valid. But I would say that this is not concordism at all. It is something different. Concordism, in my understanding, is just resolving apparent conflicts between the Bible and modern science. As I have pointed out, the Bible and Nature cannot be in conflict. An attempt at concordism may fail, but concordism as a doctrine is unassailable.

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Perhaps my criticism is more in how people seem to often attempt to “prove” concordism by forcing, again in my opinion at least, the Bible to speak into science much more than I can imagine it does. Concordism, as you have defined it here seems reasonable:

However, I think the problem is always going to be, in which way to we resolve the conflict between science and the Bible. “Non-concordists” are mostly concordists under your definition but they will generally lean towards siding with science (i.e. our understanding of Scripture is less solid).

YEC are generally the opposite, they will generally lean towards science being less solid than our interpretation of Scipture, unless of course it happens to look like it agrees with a 6,000 yr old Earth.

So then I wonder if the general definition of Concordism you gave is really that useful in practice, and hence the BioLogos article @swamidass linked to at the top of the thread.

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You’ve got it. The reason I wrote the article was my observation of (1) people talking past each other by using the same term (concordism…and others) but with different assumed meanings, and (2) reductionism (i.e., either one is a concordist or non-concordist). The Four Views book on Historical Adam offered a fresh, live example of these things. A fuller treatment is needed.

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Thank you. That definition was rather off the cuff. After putting my thought into it, I would define concordism as the doctrine, and practice that grows out of the doctrine, that God is the Author of both the Bible and Nature.

Are they non-corcordists? I think a non-concordist would be one who would say that the Bible and Science should not be expected to agree. For example, some YEC attempt to be concordists and some have given up the goal. These are the true non-concordists in my view. Some have come out and said that the Bible will never bow down to modern science because science is constantly changing. Some have even claimed the Devil planted certain fossils in the ground to fool us. This position is not tenable given the fact the Bible encourages us to do science, especially astronomy. And astronomy has given us the strongest evidence against the YEC position.

Yes, I think my definition is useful because it is based in the teaching of God’s word. And @swamidass said up above that he doesn’t agree with the definition of concordism in the linked article.

Also, Hugh Ross’s attempt at concordism of Genesis 1-2 has been particularly successful. He shows that by making a simple change in the frame of reference to the surface of earth, the natural frame of reference for the earliest readers, the entire passage changes meaning and falls into agreement with modern science. The only other insight needed is that the Hebrew word ‘yom’ should be translated ‘epoch’ and "evening and morning’ should be understood as ‘beginning and end’ to fit the figure of speech of using ‘yom’ for a long period of time.

Ross has used this explanation to lead many scientists to faith in Christ, including Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley.

It seems to me that what you are discussing here is not the difference between concordists and non-concordists, but the difference between - if I can offer some new terms - “Bible-confident concordists” and “Science-confident concordists.”

Many of the Bible-confident concordists claim that “Science changes and God’s word never changes.” This is true, but our understanding of God’s word changes just as our understanding of science changes. I’ve already pointed out that Luther and Calvin both condemned Copernicus but theology has moved passed those positions and now accepts Copernican cosmology. In the same way, the YEC interpretation of the Bible has been falsified by science and there is no question that it will eventually pass into theological oblivion.

Right now, OEC and TE are viable. I’m still OEC, but willing to be persuaded to TE if the evidence is strong enough. However, the scientific evidence against abiogenesis is overwhelming to my mind. It is an hypothesis in crisis and I believe it will someday be rejected by science. This isn’t a theological position, it based solely on my view of OOL research.


I like that distinction a great deal.

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Not from the vantage point in my discipline. it doesn’t mean we’re right, but I find it telling when the discipline that knows the language and background disagree with a model. I respect Hugh greatly and love him talking science. But I cringe at times when he digs into the biblical text (either in Genesis or Job).

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That’s interesting. I studied Hebrew in seminary. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but his handling of the text in Genesis seems quite reasonable to me. Where do you think he is most obviously wrong?

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I do think those new terms are more descriptive/useful. My concern is that mostly people seem to pick-and-choose or, to put it more positively – how we resolve apparent conflicts between science and the Bible is determined on a case-by-case basis based on a variety of factors (tradition, our understanding of inspiration, how does it affect core doctrine, how much we know the science, etc.).

I’m more confident in my interpretation of certain parts of the Bible than others. Similarly, I’m more confident in certain areas of science than others. I’m sure people will generally lean more one way than another, but there may be almost as much disagreement within each “camp” as between camps. That’s why I question whether “concordism” is a very useful term in science & faith discussions.

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Offhand, his view of “day” as epoch; his view of the sun only appearing on Day 4 rather than being created; his assumption of scientific concordism in the details of the text (but skipping over other details that don’t match modern science); and the weird overlap of the creation days that the model proposes (to fit the scientific order of events). As for Job, it begins with his wrong assumption of the date of the book, and the overall treatment of chs. 38-41 as a creation text using scientific concordism (and failing to see the mythopoetics involved, e.g., with Behemoth and Leviathan).

I’d like to know more about this. Can you elaborate? What are these areas?

I’ve seen critiques from others more scientifically adept, but I could mention treating the sun as distinct from stars, calling the moon a light, putting bats with birds and whales with other sea creatures, and, of course, evolution. On another note (on which I published in a young-earth creationist journal[!], led by Todd Woods), “kind”–if matching modern taxonomy–is broader in Gen 1 and 6-7 than the food laws in Lev 11 and Deut 14, so there’s inconsistency if one assumes “kind” to be a specific scientific term. I’m not saying Ross can’t address some of these (I’m sure he has…the man is brilliant and relentless), but I find it confusing to treat the text as scientific on one hand (at least with the concordist details), but phenomenological on the other (which I know Ross does as well). It’s back to genre and expectations of an ANE writer for me and many of my colleagues.

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2 posts were split to a new topic: The Meaning of The Genesis Kinds