Because I have been overwhelmed with some domestic, ministry and academic issues, I have been impeded from posting much on my blog. In any event, I have been planning to do a post about my participation with a creation fellowship at the Evangelical Theological Society this past November and figured that I should upload this post before the spring semester begins at DBTS.
For the past three years, I have been a part of a Creation Consultation group at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. The format of these meetings involves the presentation of three papers with differing views on creation (30 minutes for a paper plus 10 minutes for questions) followed by a panel discussion (40 minutes). The panel discussion is comprised of three biblical scholars who present a paper along with another who does not present a paper but has done writing on creation and a moderator for the panel discussion.
When we met for the first year, I presented a paper and this past year I was part of a panel discussion as the one who did not present a paper. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Intertextual Issues Relating to the Exegesis of Genesis 1” (to see the program for last year’s ETS meeting, click here). The three papers presented this year were “The Role of Genesis 2-4 in our Understanding of Genesis 1” by Dr. C. John Collins, “The Role of Psalm 104 in our Understanding of Genesis 1” by Dr. Richard E. Averbeck, and “The Role of Proverbs 8, Job 38-40, and John 1 in our Understanding of Genesis 1” by Dr. Bruce K. Waltke. Since I was a participant on the panel discussion, I prepared a response for each paper. Dr. Bill Barrick was the moderator of the panel discussion.
As it turned out, my responses turned out to be for my own personal edification since I only had time to state what I believe about literal days in the creation week. When our panel discussion started, it was opened up for questions from the floor and all attention and the majority of time focused on Dr. Waltke because of all the issues surrounding his involvement with the Biologos blog and his resignation from Reformed Theological Seminary. The focus on Waltke in the panel discussion was unfortunate. I suspect the format for next year’s panel discussion will change so that this type of thing does not happen again.
Though I had various reservations with each paper, my strongest disagreement was with Dr. Waltke’s paper defending theistic evolution. The thesis of his paper was that the biblical cosmogony found in Proverbs 8, Job 38-40, and John 1:1-5 as they relate to Genesis 1 allow for God’s creation by natural selection. While Waltke clearly affirms that Adam and Eve are historical figures, distinct from animals, and directly created by God (to see his statement on this, go here), his support of theistic evolution undermines the traditional, literal reading of the early chapters of Genesis and the overall theological message of Scripture (for an earlier critical and beneficial assessment of Waltke’s paper, see Dr. Terry Mortenson’s blog entry).