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What is the proper hermeneutic of the record of nature?

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  • Kurt
    Dr. Rana, I also was at the RTB Conference this summer and it was a pleasure meeting you, Ken Samples and the other speakers. Dr. Russell was great and helped
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 1, 2001
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      Dr. Rana,

      I also was at the RTB Conference this summer and it was a pleasure
      meeting you, Ken Samples and the other speakers. Dr. Russell was
      great and helped me see the importance of a good hermanutic of
      scripture (I even bought his book and can't see how he could hold to
      the RTB old earth claims and remain true to his overall teaching!).

      Regarding my question, "What is the proper hermeneutic of the record
      of nature" --I read on this site of two quotes that I think are valid
      for our discussion on the topic. As a matter of fact, this is a
      question I asked at the conference but I did NOT get an answer.

      First here are the to quotes I think are important to this debate:

      "…Since the entrance of sin into the world, man can gather true
      knowledge about God from His general revelation only if he studies it
      in the light of Scripture, in which the elements of God's original
      self-revelation, which were obscured and perverted by the blight of
      sin, are republished, corrected, and interpreted."

      "Some are inclined to speak of God's general revelation as a second
      source; but this is hardly correct in view of the fact that nature
      can come into consideration here only as interpreted in the light of
      Scripture."

      Louis Berkhoff pgs.60,96
      Introductory volume to Systematic theology

      He (Calvin) saw himself placed before two works of God, the one in
      creation, the other in Christ, and in both he adored that majesty of
      Almighty God, which transported his soul into ecstasy. In this light
      it is deserving of notice that our best Calvinistic Confessions speak
      of two means whereby we know God, viz., the Scriptures and Nature.
      And still more remarkable it is that Calvin, instead of simply
      treating Nature as an accessorial item as so many Theologians were
      inclined to do, was accustomed to compare the Scriptures to a pair of
      spectacles, enabling us to decipher again the divine Thoughts,
      written by God's Hand in the book of Nature, which had become
      obliterated in consequence of the curse.

      Abraham Kuyper, "Lectures on Calvinism" pg.120

      Please consider Calvin with me. He took YEC side.
      For example, Calvin believed that:

      1. The earth is `young':
      `They will not refrain from guffaws when they are informed that but
      little more than five thousand years have passed since the creation
      of the universe.'

      2. God created in six consecutive normal days:
      `Here the error of those is manifestly refuted, who maintain that the
      world was made in a moment. For it is too violent a cavil to contend
      that Moses distributes the work which God perfected at once into six
      days, for the mere purpose of conveying instruction. Let us rather
      conclude that God himself took the space of six days, for the purpose
      of accommodating his works to the capacity of men.'
      `I have said above that six days were employed in the formation of
      the world; not that God, to whom one moment is as a thousand years,
      had need of this succession of time, but that he might engage us in
      the contemplation of his works.'

      3. The day-night cycle was instituted from Day 1 — before the
      sun was created [commenting on `let there be light' (Genesis 1:3)]:
      `Therefore the Lord, by the very order of the creation, bears witness
      that he holds in his hand the light, which he is able to impart to us
      without the sun and the moon. Further, it is certain, from the
      context, that the light was so created as to be interchanged with the
      darkness … there is, however, no doubt that the order of their
      succession was alternate …'

      4. The sun, moon and stars were created on Day 4 — after the
      earth — and took over the role as light dispensers to the earth
      [commenting on `let there be lights …' (Gen. 1:14)]:
      `God had before created the light, but he now institutes a new order
      in nature, that the sun should be the dispenser of diurnal light, and
      the moon and the stars should shine by night. And he assigns them to
      this office, to teach us that all creatures are subject to his will,
      and execute what he enjoins upon them. For Moses relates nothing else
      than that God ordained certain instruments to diffuse through the
      earth, by reciprocal changes, that light which had been previously
      created. The only difference is this, that the light was before
      dispersed, but now proceeds from lucid bodies; which, in serving this
      purpose, obey the commands of God.'

      5. The Creation was originally `very good', lacking any evil
      [commenting on Genesis 1:31]:
      `On each of the days, simple approbation was given. But now, after
      the workmanship of the world was complete in all its parts, and had
      received, if I may so speak, the last finishing touch, he pronounces
      it perfectly good; that we may know that there is in the symmetry of
      God's works the highest perfection, to which nothing can be added.'

      6. Suffering on the earth is the result of sin [commenting on
      Gen. 3:19]:
      `Therefore, we may know, that whatever unwholesome things may be
      produced, are not natural fruits of the earth, but are corruptions
      which originate from sin.'

      7. Physical death is the result of sin (Hebrew: dieing you shall
      die):
      `And therefore some understand what was before said. "Thou shalt
      die", in a spiritual sense; thinking that, even if Adam had not
      sinned, his body must still have been separated from his soul. But
      since the declaration of Paul is clear, that "all die in Adam, as
      they shall rise again in Christ" , this wound was inflicted by sin. …
      Truly the first man would have passed to a better life, had he
      remained upright; but there would have been no separation of the soul
      from the body, no corruption, no kind of destruction, and, in short,
      no violent change.'

      8. God created Adam and Eve directly [commenting on Gen. 5]:
      `… [Moses] distinguishes between our first parents and the rest of
      mankind, because God had brought them into life by a singular method,
      whereas others had sprung from previous stock, and had been born of
      parents.'

      9. The Flood was global [just a small part of an extensive
      discussion on the real, historical nature of the Flood and Ark]:
      `And the flood was forty days, &c. Moses copiously insists on this
      fact, in order to show that the whole world was immersed in the
      waters.'

      Thus it seems clear that the straightforward reading and
      understanding of Genesis as historical narrative, is that God created
      the heavens and the earth in six solar days, that man was created on
      the sixth day, and that death and chaos entered the world after the
      fall of Adam and Eve, and that most fossils were the result of the
      catastrophic Flood of Noah's day.

      I asked at the conference, "How and when should we bring in our
      interpretations of the fallen world to the scripture?
      How far can we modify our reading of Genesis to fit within our
      limited view of the Universe?
      Since we are limited in not having all the data and that man is
      interpreting the world based on assumptions (which could be
      flawed),how much of our interpretations are trustworthy as compared
      to the clear Word of the Creator Himself?
      Furthermore, what is the proper hermeneutic of the record of nature
      (Of course, bearing in mind what Berkhoff and Kuyper said in those
      opening quotes I gave you.)?

      Thanks in advance for you consideration of these thoughts!

      Because of Christ,
      Kurt
    • Kourtos H. Archomai
      Hi Kurt, you may never get a straight answer. Don t hold your breath! I have asked OEC that basic question regarding the natural revelation and how we a
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 4, 2001
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        Hi Kurt, you may never get a straight answer.
        Don't hold your breath!

        I have asked OEC that basic question regarding the natural revelation
        and how we a Christians should interpret it.

        I wonder if there will be a "long silence" on this one too?


        --- In RTB_Discussion_Group@y..., "Kurt" <kurt_streutker@m...> wrote:
        > Dr. Rana,
        >
        > I also was at the RTB Conference this summer and it was a pleasure
        > meeting you, Ken Samples and the other speakers. Dr. Russell was
        > great and helped me see the importance of a good hermanutic of
        > scripture (I even bought his book and can't see how he could hold
        to
        > the RTB old earth claims and remain true to his overall teaching!).
        >
        > Regarding my question, "What is the proper hermeneutic of the
        record
        > of nature" --I read on this site of two quotes that I think are
        valid
        > for our discussion on the topic. As a matter of fact, this is a
        > question I asked at the conference but I did NOT get an answer.
        >
        > First here are the to quotes I think are important to this debate:
        >
        > "…Since the entrance of sin into the world, man can gather true
        > knowledge about God from His general revelation only if he studies
        it
        > in the light of Scripture, in which the elements of God's original
        > self-revelation, which were obscured and perverted by the blight of
        > sin, are republished, corrected, and interpreted."
        >
        > "Some are inclined to speak of God's general revelation as a second
        > source; but this is hardly correct in view of the fact that nature
        > can come into consideration here only as interpreted in the light
        of
        > Scripture."
        >
        > Louis Berkhoff pgs.60,96
        > Introductory volume to Systematic theology
        >
        > He (Calvin) saw himself placed before two works of God, the one in
        > creation, the other in Christ, and in both he adored that majesty
        of
        > Almighty God, which transported his soul into ecstasy. In this
        light
        > it is deserving of notice that our best Calvinistic Confessions
        speak
        > of two means whereby we know God, viz., the Scriptures and Nature.
        > And still more remarkable it is that Calvin, instead of simply
        > treating Nature as an accessorial item as so many Theologians were
        > inclined to do, was accustomed to compare the Scriptures to a pair
        of
        > spectacles, enabling us to decipher again the divine Thoughts,
        > written by God's Hand in the book of Nature, which had become
        > obliterated in consequence of the curse.
        >
        > Abraham Kuyper, "Lectures on Calvinism" pg.120
        >
        > Please consider Calvin with me. He took YEC side.
        > For example, Calvin believed that:
        >
        > 1. The earth is `young':
        > `They will not refrain from guffaws when they are informed that but
        > little more than five thousand years have passed since the creation
        > of the universe.'
        >
        > 2. God created in six consecutive normal days:
        > `Here the error of those is manifestly refuted, who maintain that
        the
        > world was made in a moment. For it is too violent a cavil to
        contend
        > that Moses distributes the work which God perfected at once into
        six
        > days, for the mere purpose of conveying instruction. Let us rather
        > conclude that God himself took the space of six days, for the
        purpose
        > of accommodating his works to the capacity of men.'
        > `I have said above that six days were employed in the formation of
        > the world; not that God, to whom one moment is as a thousand years,
        > had need of this succession of time, but that he might engage us in
        > the contemplation of his works.'
        >
        > 3. The day-night cycle was instituted from Day 1 — before the
        > sun was created [commenting on `let there be light' (Genesis 1:3)]:
        > `Therefore the Lord, by the very order of the creation, bears
        witness
        > that he holds in his hand the light, which he is able to impart to
        us
        > without the sun and the moon. Further, it is certain, from the
        > context, that the light was so created as to be interchanged with
        the
        > darkness … there is, however, no doubt that the order of their
        > succession was alternate …'
        >
        > 4. The sun, moon and stars were created on Day 4 — after the
        > earth — and took over the role as light dispensers to the earth
        > [commenting on `let there be lights …' (Gen. 1:14)]:
        > `God had before created the light, but he now institutes a new
        order
        > in nature, that the sun should be the dispenser of diurnal light,
        and
        > the moon and the stars should shine by night. And he assigns them
        to
        > this office, to teach us that all creatures are subject to his
        will,
        > and execute what he enjoins upon them. For Moses relates nothing
        else
        > than that God ordained certain instruments to diffuse through the
        > earth, by reciprocal changes, that light which had been previously
        > created. The only difference is this, that the light was before
        > dispersed, but now proceeds from lucid bodies; which, in serving
        this
        > purpose, obey the commands of God.'
        >
        > 5. The Creation was originally `very good', lacking any evil
        > [commenting on Genesis 1:31]:
        > `On each of the days, simple approbation was given. But now, after
        > the workmanship of the world was complete in all its parts, and had
        > received, if I may so speak, the last finishing touch, he
        pronounces
        > it perfectly good; that we may know that there is in the symmetry
        of
        > God's works the highest perfection, to which nothing can be added.'
        >
        > 6. Suffering on the earth is the result of sin [commenting on
        > Gen. 3:19]:
        > `Therefore, we may know, that whatever unwholesome things may be
        > produced, are not natural fruits of the earth, but are corruptions
        > which originate from sin.'
        >
        > 7. Physical death is the result of sin (Hebrew: dieing you shall
        > die):
        > `And therefore some understand what was before said. "Thou shalt
        > die", in a spiritual sense; thinking that, even if Adam had not
        > sinned, his body must still have been separated from his soul. But
        > since the declaration of Paul is clear, that "all die in Adam, as
        > they shall rise again in Christ" , this wound was inflicted by sin.
        …
        > Truly the first man would have passed to a better life, had he
        > remained upright; but there would have been no separation of the
        soul
        > from the body, no corruption, no kind of destruction, and, in
        short,
        > no violent change.'
        >
        > 8. God created Adam and Eve directly [commenting on Gen. 5]:
        > `… [Moses] distinguishes between our first parents and the rest of
        > mankind, because God had brought them into life by a singular
        method,
        > whereas others had sprung from previous stock, and had been born of
        > parents.'
        >
        > 9. The Flood was global [just a small part of an extensive
        > discussion on the real, historical nature of the Flood and Ark]:
        > `And the flood was forty days, &c. Moses copiously insists on this
        > fact, in order to show that the whole world was immersed in the
        > waters.'
        >
        > Thus it seems clear that the straightforward reading and
        > understanding of Genesis as historical narrative, is that God
        created
        > the heavens and the earth in six solar days, that man was created
        on
        > the sixth day, and that death and chaos entered the world after the
        > fall of Adam and Eve, and that most fossils were the result of the
        > catastrophic Flood of Noah's day.
        >
        > I asked at the conference, "How and when should we bring in our
        > interpretations of the fallen world to the scripture?
        > How far can we modify our reading of Genesis to fit within our
        > limited view of the Universe?
        > Since we are limited in not having all the data and that man is
        > interpreting the world based on assumptions (which could be
        > flawed),how much of our interpretations are trustworthy as compared
        > to the clear Word of the Creator Himself?
        > Furthermore, what is the proper hermeneutic of the record of nature
        > (Of course, bearing in mind what Berkhoff and Kuyper said in those
        > opening quotes I gave you.)?
        >
        > Thanks in advance for you consideration of these thoughts!
        >
        > Because of Christ,
        > Kurt
      • kurt_streutker
        My question to OECist, What is the proper hermeneutic of the record of nature --I posted on this site of two quotes that I think are valid for our discussion
        Message 3 of 7 , May 8, 2002
        • 0 Attachment
          My question to OECist, "What is the proper hermeneutic of the record
          of nature" --I posted on this site of two quotes that I think are
          valid for our discussion on the topic. As a matter of fact, this is a
          question I asked at the conference but I did NOT get an answer.

          First here are the to quotes I think are important to this debate:

          "…Since the entrance of sin into the world, man can gather true
          knowledge about God from His general revelation only if he studies it
          in the light of Scripture, in which the elements of God's original
          self-revelation, which were obscured and perverted by the blight of
          sin, are republished, corrected, and interpreted."

          "Some are inclined to speak of God's general revelation as a second
          source; but this is hardly correct in view of the fact that nature
          can come into consideration here only as interpreted in the light of
          Scripture."

          Louis Berkhoff pgs.60,96
          Introductory volume to Systematic theology

          He (Calvin) saw himself placed before two works of God, the one in
          creation, the other in Christ, and in both he adored that majesty of
          Almighty God, which transported his soul into ecstasy. In this light
          it is deserving of notice that our best Calvinistic Confessions speak
          of two means whereby we know God, viz., the Scriptures and Nature.
          And still more remarkable it is that Calvin, instead of simply
          treating Nature as an accessorial item as so many Theologians were
          inclined to do, was accustomed to compare the Scriptures to a pair of
          spectacles, enabling us to decipher again the divine Thoughts,
          written by God's Hand in the book of Nature, which had become
          obliterated in consequence of the curse.

          Abraham Kuyper, "Lectures on Calvinism" pg.120

          Please consider Calvin with me. He took YEC side.
          For example, Calvin believed that:

          1. The earth is `young':
          `They will not refrain from guffaws when they are informed that but
          little more than five thousand years have passed since the creation
          of the universe.'

          2. God created in six consecutive normal days:
          `Here the error of those is manifestly refuted, who maintain that the
          world was made in a moment. For it is too violent a cavil to contend
          that Moses distributes the work which God perfected at once into six
          days, for the mere purpose of conveying instruction. Let us rather
          conclude that God himself took the space of six days, for the purpose
          of accommodating his works to the capacity of men.'
          `I have said above that six days were employed in the formation of
          the world; not that God, to whom one moment is as a thousand years,
          had need of this succession of time, but that he might engage us in
          the contemplation of his works.'

          3. The day-night cycle was instituted from Day 1 — before the
          sun was created [commenting on `let there be light' (Genesis 1:3)]:
          `Therefore the Lord, by the very order of the creation, bears witness
          that he holds in his hand the light, which he is able to impart to us
          without the sun and the moon. Further, it is certain, from the
          context, that the light was so created as to be interchanged with the
          darkness … there is, however, no doubt that the order of their
          succession was alternate …'

          4. The sun, moon and stars were created on Day 4 — after the
          earth — and took over the role as light dispensers to the earth
          [commenting on `let there be lights …' (Gen. 1:14)]:
          `God had before created the light, but he now institutes a new order
          in nature, that the sun should be the dispenser of diurnal light, and
          the moon and the stars should shine by night. And he assigns them to
          this office, to teach us that all creatures are subject to his will,
          and execute what he enjoins upon them. For Moses relates nothing else
          than that God ordained certain instruments to diffuse through the
          earth, by reciprocal changes, that light which had been previously
          created. The only difference is this, that the light was before
          dispersed, but now proceeds from lucid bodies; which, in serving this
          purpose, obey the commands of God.'

          5. The Creation was originally `very good', lacking any evil
          [commenting on Genesis 1:31]:
          `On each of the days, simple approbation was given. But now, after
          the workmanship of the world was complete in all its parts, and had
          received, if I may so speak, the last finishing touch, he pronounces
          it perfectly good; that we may know that there is in the symmetry of
          God's works the highest perfection, to which nothing can be added.'

          6. Suffering on the earth is the result of sin [commenting on
          Gen. 3:19]:
          `Therefore, we may know, that whatever unwholesome things may be
          produced, are not natural fruits of the earth, but are corruptions
          which originate from sin.'

          7. Physical death is the result of sin (Hebrew: dieing you shall
          die):
          `And therefore some understand what was before said. "Thou shalt
          die", in a spiritual sense; thinking that, even if Adam had not
          sinned, his body must still have been separated from his soul. But
          since the declaration of Paul is clear, that "all die in Adam, as
          they shall rise again in Christ" , this wound was inflicted by sin. …
          Truly the first man would have passed to a better life, had he
          remained upright; but there would have been no separation of the soul
          from the body, no corruption, no kind of destruction, and, in short,
          no violent change.'

          8. God created Adam and Eve directly [commenting on Gen. 5]:
          `… [Moses] distinguishes between our first parents and the rest of
          mankind, because God had brought them into life by a singular method,
          whereas others had sprung from previous stock, and had been born of
          parents.'

          9. The Flood was global [just a small part of an extensive
          discussion on the real, historical nature of the Flood and Ark]:
          `And the flood was forty days, &c. Moses copiously insists on this
          fact, in order to show that the whole world was immersed in the
          waters.'

          Thus it seems clear that the straightforward reading and
          understanding of Genesis as historical narrative, is that God created
          the heavens and the earth in six solar days, that man was created on
          the sixth day, and that death and chaos entered the world after the
          fall of Adam and Eve, and that most fossils were the result of the
          catastrophic Flood of Noah's day.

          I asked at the RTB conference, "How and when should we bring in our
          interpretations of the fallen world to the scripture?
          How far can we modify our reading of Genesis to fit within our
          limited view of the Universe? Since we are limited in not having all
          the data and that man is interpreting the world based on assumptions
          (which could be flawed),how much of our interpretations are
          trustworthy as compared to the clear Word of the Creator Himself?
          Furthermore, what is the proper hermeneutic of the record of nature
          (Of course, bearing in mind what Berkhoff and Kuyper said in those
          opening quotes I gave you.)?
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