Saturday, February 10, 2007

Dumping the Mental Desk

A few items banging around in my brain today ...

Henry Morris, in his commentary on Genesis 7:1 says "It is significant, too, that the Lord said 'Come into the Ark,' not 'Go.' God would be in the Ark with them, and although the Flood would soon be unleashed in devastating fury, they were all safe with Him" (p. 190).

Good stuff ... except that the word translated "Come" in the KJV, on which Morris places great significance, is a Hebrew word that means come or go. In other words, the significance of "come" is not found in Hebrew. Morris was a very able scientist, from all reports, who was instrumental in the modern biblical creationism movement. He, from all evidences, was not a Hebrew scholar (nor am I, though I have been accused of having a great short-term memory that got me through Rapid Hebrew Reading in seminary). But even Strong's Concordance, which is not exactly heavy weight lexical data, will tell us that the word can mean either come or go.

So my caution is simply this: When you see someone appeal to a word meaning, particularly in Greek or Hebrew, look it up before hanging your hat, or your soul, on it.

On a related topic (the Flood), I was reading in Walton's commentary this morning. He justifies his rejection of a universal flood on the basis of some evidence he has chosen to believe. He says,"While there is no view I am yet comfortable with, I am committed to the text first (handled with hermeneutical propriety) ... All agree on the theological teaching and significance of the passage, regardless of the extent of the Flood" (p. 329).

Walton goes on to say that this passage is "all about God ... [we] should ... follow the lead of the New Testament, which consistently indicates that the Flood should be a reminder to us of the reality of final judgment" (p. 333).

Yet we must wander how a flood that affects only people unfortunate enough to live in a certain area reminds us of the final judgment, which presumably (and textually) is brought on the same number of people as the original judgment in the Flood. It makes me wonder if Walton and I do "agree on the theological teaching and significance of the passage." (Perhaps, like some in Genesis 6-8, I am not part of the "all" to which he refers.) And it makes me wonder how committed to the text Walton is, when he goes to great lengths to explain why the text does not really say what it says, but actually says something else. And he has done this all on the basis of what seems viable in his mind. Walton, unlike Morris, is an able Hebrew scholar, but perhaps could use some work on his science.

Lastly, some say that you should not use capital punishment because "You don't teach killing is wrong by killing someone." The same idea is used against spanking. One wonders just how consistent these kinds of people want to be.

Is is wrong to arrest someone against their will who is charged with kidnappping someone against their will? In other words, is it right to teach kidnapping is wrong by kidnapping someone?

Is it wrong to imprison a thief, stealing away years of his life? In other words, is it right to teaching stealing is wrong by stealing time from someone?

What about someone who kidnaps someone and locks them in a room, such such as this guy recently did in St. Louis? In other words, can we teach them that locking someone in a place with no way to escape is wrong by locking them in a place with no way to escape?

Of course, the sharpest readers (and probably the rest as well) will immediately see through the foolish of these pretended arguments. The question is, why don't people see through the equal foolishness of the arguments used against spanking and capital punishment?

While there may be good reasons to be careful with the use of capital punishment and spanking, can we not dispense with the nonsense?

Enjoy your Saturday ...


Jim Peet said...

Genesis 7:1, The NASB avoids the "come" vs "go" by stating "enter".

Good thoughts today!

Larry said...

To show how out of touch I am, I didn't even know the KJV said "Come" until I read Morris.