Thursday, October 9, 2008

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue.

I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Do you read the days in Genesis 1 as literal twenty four hour days?


Susan Barnes said...

I use to; then I read Francis Collins' The Language of God. Now I'm not sure what I think.

I'm not a scientist; I know God created the world. I'm not sure how he did or how long he took. I've actually come to the point of deciding it can't be that important because we have committed Christians on both sides of the debate.

Greg said...

Good comment. Thanks.

I tend to see the days in a literary fashion - days 1-4, 2-5, and 3-6 seem to match up and connect with each other. Maybe not so much chronology, but trajectory towards a goal. The author de-defies the natural world, which would have been worshipped in much of the Ancient Near East, showing that there is one Creator of all.

harry coe maynard said...


I don't think there is a time limit in Gen, 1:1.

But, if God raised Jesus from the dead then the rest is all True.

If that is not True our Faith is in Vain.

People are having a hard time trying to live in an Impersonal Universe.

God is a Noun not a verb.

Greg said...

Harry coe,
Good point - no time limit.

God is a noun not a verb? I'm not so sure about that? I am that I am - logos, etc.

harry coe maynard said...

Was Jesus a verb? That was an argument they were having way back when I took night courses at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth Tx

Greg said...

Harry coe,
I would have thought he is a verb as the Word and beyond that to all that this comprises.

John said...

I've grown up hearing that it was a literal 7 twenty-four hour days, but I was also raised to believe in a young Earth. I don't want to discount scientific knowledge and fact, but it seems to enlarge my view of God that He was able to create everything in 24 days. Though I do think that the Earth is old, because how else do we explain the fossil record?

I would be interested to hear George's thoughts on this, Greg. Has he written anything on it?

harry coe maynard said...


I have wrestled with that for years. My only thought is how do you love a verb or talk to one?

My discussions with friends about evolution, they always say I was there at the Grand Canyon or saw the fossiles, in a man centered univ. it's always there presence that authenticates it, I say that proves we live in a Personal Universe.

Science never ask why.

Greg said...

George and I are working on this. As I mentioned to Susan, one of the ways of looking at the days is not chronology, but from a literary point of view with a strong theological affirmation that God is the only God - nature and humans are not divine as they would have been understood to be in the ANE. Days 1-4, 2-5, 3-6 match up and interconnect quite nicely. Augustine says the days are there for the simple folk to be able to ubnderstand that God is the creator. Not sure about that perspective.

I think, from what we can tell, the earth is pretty old. Francis Collins' book is worth a read, and of course there are many others.

Greg said...

Harry coe,
A verb can be that and more - personal, communicative, etc.

True, science never asks "why" because that's not its job - but the "what" will, at some point, have a connection to the why without being able to explain it sufficiently with the what alone.

Anonymous said...

True science does not ask "why?", but popular science sure enjoys it. As a medical student, I was fortunate to hear George's lecture on Meta-narratives, back in March of 2007, because several of my professors are neck deep in it.

Another factor to consider in the young earth debate is genetic variation. My understanding of it is that most genetic variations can be traced back about 70,000 years to a cataclysmic volcanic eruption that winnowed human population down to a few thousand people, which gave rise to us today. This, if accurate, would preclude the possibility of a young earth, at least by my understanding of the debate.

However, my favorite statement that George made was caution about redefining the Word in light of science because tension between them is creative. We don't have it figured out, and conclusions should not be made too quickly.

Send my best to George!

Greg said...

Thanks for commenting. Oh yes, the metanarrative scenario plays itself out in a number of disciplines.

I agree that we need to proceed slowly on questions like this, but it seems hard to conclude even from the Word that were restricted to the belief that the earth is young. Yet, confidence and humility are aspects of that creative tension that George mentioned.