On Young Earth Creationists as Theological Liberals

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]] has a pretty good piece up, which in part reads,

From the vantage point of my tradition, I am a conservative, and they are the liberals. They are the ones who liberally filter the Bible through their own theological constructions. On the other hand, I and those within my tradition (insomuch as we live up to our ideals) are the conservatives. We wish to conserve the Bible’s historical-grammatical meaning, to conserve the original voices of the Bible’s authors, and allow them to speak to us without imposing our own assumptions and theological constructs upon them, which would be refusing to let them speak.

This is exactly what I’ve been saying in my discussions with Young Earth Creationists and the occasional Finnish ‘This Week I am Reformed‘ Lutheran – that sometimes what appears to be conservative is actually liberal and the reverse is equally true. If we are supposedly about ad fontes! then why aren’t we really concerned with what the biblical text said and instead focused on what it says to us?

Thom goes on to note,

But what they mean is that they are invested in conserving the Bible as interpreted through the creeds that are accepted within their brand of orthodoxy, and I am a liberal because I have no investment whatsoever in their creeds.

Well, yeah. Regarding YEC’ers, or KJV’ers, or any ‘ers, this can be read the same thing, except replace ‘creeds’ with ‘their interpretations.’

For me, I believe the Holy Text to be the divinely inspired and profitable for many things, but not as a prop to our recent insistences or interpretations. Further, just because the bible says some now, it doesn’t mean that it has always said the same thing. You realize, of course, that this is why serious studies are needed – and don’t laugh too much, Jim, – but studies in the original language, culture and context as much as humanly possible.

If you insist upon your interpretation without first consulting the (con)Text, then you are a theological liberal. That’s fine, but at least admit it. But as for me and my house of biblical studies, we will return to the sources. From there, we will move forward.

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8 Replies to “On Young Earth Creationists as Theological Liberals”

  1. I think it is interesting that theological conservatives (I am one) are keen on historical-grammatical interpretation (which they should be) but refuse to apply that standard to Genesis 1-2. This is not a polemic against Darwin. Darwin’s theories were not even thought of yet. Instead, this creation account is a polemic against the ANE cultures of the day. You know, grounded in the history and grammar of that day, not the late 1800s.

    The gods did not rise out of the chaos. There was only one God and he was above it from the beginning. God did not have to struggle to defeat other gods then create the heavens and the earth from their defeated carcasses. He simply spoke it into existence. Man was not created by the gods to do all their work for them. He was the crowning glory of God’s creation.

    I recently finished John Walton’s book The Lost World of Genesis One. A very interesting take on the creation story as a functional account rather than a material one. This frees the believer up to examine material origins scientifically. But what troubles me about that is that believers are NOT examining various scientific theories. They are simply defaulting to the evolutionary creation theory without accounting for its many weaknesses.

  2. I affirm Genesis 1 & 2 as an ANE Israelite religious polemic too, as well as Temple theology at its finest. 🙂

    1. And only the true preposition of Holy Scripture can give the proper presuppositions of Scripture therein, which includes first the doctrine of God, Sovereign and Totally Other! And here were the Reformers and Reformation, and the true Ad Fontes… but without a wit of human infallibility!

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