I am in my mid-50s. I have a wife and three children. We attend the local Lutheran church in my small town, which is in Arkansas only a few miles from the Missouri border. When I am here that is. We travel a lot due to the fact that my most recent jobs have been negotiating oil and gas pipeline agreements from both private landowners and corporate and government entities. The last one was in the Toledo area. Between projects now, which is why I have time to do this.
In my youth I taught science in the public schools for twelve years, mostly earth science. It was difficult for me when my students would not accept, on religious grounds, that I believed that the earth was ancient. If I work out here, remind me to tell you about the time that YEC Kent Hovind came to town and the student who wanted me to visit with him after his stchick.
My only university degree is in Business Administration, with an emphasis in quantitative analysis, plus enough science to get me certified to teach. I do not have a seminary degree. That is why, when I wrote the book which I am drawing these videos from I hired a retired seminary professor to look over my very early manuscripts. Not to see if he agreed with me, but to make sure I was not a heretic. He told me I wasn’t, so I published. I sure don’t mind if you do the same. In fact I would welcome it.
It wasn’t my first book. I had dabbled in politics a lot as a younger man- still do some. If you are in the area you may hear my name in the news next week as I challenged an unconstitutional ballot access law in Arkansas and the judge is going to issue his ruling in the next couple of days. He has told my lawyer that he is going to rule that the law is unconstitutional. Anyway, I wrote a book on political philosophy and it did well in certain nerd political philosophy circles. That is fine by me as I am a nerd trapped in what used to be a jock’s body.
Now you also asked “what brought you to this?” By the question you must mean either the theology in the videos or taking them to your forum. I will answer each.
I had long struggled with the text of early Genesis, through the flood account. I read a lot of Dr. Hugh Ross’s stuff, and accepted a lot of it, but I never really was comfortable by some of the ways they reconciled the text with the science. For instance, as the likely date for the human race was pushed further back, the amount of “gaps” in the genealogies made them, well untenable. Nor did I agree with his idea that the human race was all in one area when the flood of Noah came. The human race has been spread out for many tens of thousands of years.
At any rate, I had studied it and turned it all over in my mind without any resolution I could be confident in for many years. Then one day last year I just picked up the Bible and opened up to the first two chapters of Genesis and it was like I was reading it for the first time. I said to myself “chapter one and chapter two don’t seem like they are telling quite the same story”. And an impression, it is indescribable really what it was, just came over me “they’re not.”
That started a year of intense study and writing which has only recently really come to an end, or maybe the next phase is a better way to put it. During that year I could just see things in the text that I could never see before in forty years of looking at it. I didn’t “figure this out”. I only “figured out” the details. The framework just came to me almost effortlessly. Most of the “effort” was finding every scripture I could think of which would nullify the framework in an effort to “negate the hypothesis” for it. That and looking into the Hebrew and Greek- not enough to be a scholar at it but just thinking “well if that is a good translation of that English word then the hypothesis is negated so let me look it up” and sure enough it would be a terrible translation and the actual meaning would tend to confirm the framework. It happened repeatedly.
So I started writing. And by the time I got to the flood account what I thought I was going to say about it was completely different than what I wound up writing about it- and vastly more elegant. I thought I was going to stop there and beg off on the tower of Babel, but by the time I got there I had something to say about it.
I think something happened to me. Some meta-insight where everything just went “click” that had not clicked for 40 years no matter who I listened to talk about it. There is a verse where it says Jesus “opened their minds that they might understand the scriptures.” The closest thing that I can figure is that something like that happened to me on the cosmology of early Genesis. Why me? I don’t know, but not because my formal learning on the subject is top drawer, or even middle drawer. I guess I am John Denver in the “Oh God” Movie.
But hey, it either matches scripture or it does not. Something does not become true or false based on who is saying it. I suppose though, in once sense it is less likely that a person with little formal education will discover something in scripture missed by the experts. Yet in another sense, if the experts are trained to think in one framework, if the institutions from which they draw their honor and sustenance back that framework, then they are less likely to see it is inaccurate - particularly when they evidence that it is inaccurate comes from outside their area of expertise.
In this case, the evidence is from nature and science that their view of things is incomplete or mistaken, but they are not experts in that so they are sailing along with their models thinking things are fine. It is not like what Mr. Matheson was complaining of on Biologos, that scientists are not going to miss a scientific problem with the framework that a non-scientist will notice. Theologians can miss a problem with their framework if the problem is detected via scientific means. And since they are theologians, if the solution to the problem comes via a Deus EX Machina to a nobody then how can they complain? That is what they say He does!
Now the other way to look at your question is what brought me to THIS FORUM. Well, I went to BioLogos thinking “This framework would benefit them”. If people are always after them for “not believing what the Bible says” because they think mankind began as a group not a couple, and in the distant past not 6-10K years ago. Plus, they don’t detect a recent bottleneck as would be the case if there was a flood which reduced the human population to eight persons. And also, I think it sort of unites the OEC position with the TE position because creation is happening in two realms and what happens in the land above is a lot like TE. So I went there.
When I got there and said that I thought there was an original creation of the human race and Adam and Eve were just the final part of that effort- because they were to produce the line which would redeem it- people said “Oh that is like Swamidass”. So I though “oh, he is even closer than the average member here to what I am saying. And he has his own forum. He could handle the scientific aspect showing that humanity started as a group not a pair, and Adam and Eve are not the sole progenitors of the human race. He can show the science and this framework has scripture that dovetails with the science.”
So you can show that this is what nature is telling us about our origins, and I can show that scripture supports what nature is telling us.
But my, I do go on when talking about myself. I will stop now.