If you feel like a heart attack, go to the University of Idaho website,
type N.F.Gier in the search box and then select GRE.It’s a reference to
his book ” God Reason and the Evangelicals”. Then select Chapter 13. The
point is that Genesis one describes the earth as surrounded by a solid
“firmament.” What can you say about this?
I read the chapter. It was interesting. There is a lot of good
scholarship here. Gier makes some good points about the blatant errors,
for example, in the Qur’an, the Hindu scriptures etc. What he fails to do
is prove that the author of Genesis one believed in a solid firmament.
Such things certainly can be proved with the scriptures of other
religions, but not with Genesis one. I agree with many “evangelicals”
that a large proportion of the references to nature in Psalms and Job, for
example, are poetic and are not to be taken literally. This is the normal
hermeneutics of poetry. However, the Genesis creation account is clearly
a different type of literature.
Bottom line, the author reaches his conclusions because of some
assumptions he makes. I will quote him:
we must use the doctrine of “sharable implications,” which means that we
cannot impute to authors knowledge or experience which they could not
possibly have had
In other words, the author assumes that the writer of Genesis could not
have had supernatural influence. Like I say in my book, we must look at
people’s assumptions. If the author assumes that the writer of Genesis
could not possibly be inspired, no wonder that he concludes that the
author is not inspired.
We can assume that they borrowed much from their neighbors
Here we go again. The author makes unfounded assumptions. His
conclusions are not reliable, because he proves that Genesis is not
inspired by assuming it is not inspired by God.
Why should the Hebrews, who had no special expertise in ancient science
and who borrowed heavily in other areas, have had a view different from
other ancient peoples’?
This is the logical fallacy known as “begging the question.” If one
argues that the writer of Genesis does not have special knowledge by
stating that he could not have had special knowledge, that is called
begging the question.
In conclusion, I believe this author raises some very good issues. My
conclusion is that it is absolutely incredible that the a Jewish writer
could write an account of creation which does NOT contain the things he
says that it logically should, if it was written according to human
knowledge. The author assumes the answer before doing the investigation.
I do not (at least I like to think so, but will leave you to judge me for
yourself). Your champion provides a great deal of information which
supports my conclusion. Virtually all ancient peoples believed in this
solid firmament, but the writer of Genesis does not. Now, the author of
Genesis is compelled to use Hebrew words which were in his vocabulary.
Genesis is not a scientific description. I agree with the theologians
quoted by Gier that the purpose of Genesis 1 was not to describe the
science of creation. The purpose is to give credit to God for creation.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that the biblical account is not at all
like the creation story of any ancient people.