I don't really know the answer to your question.
Sorry for the delay in responding. Been busy! I hope that doesn't take the edge off our converstaion, so far.
Well, for me to answer my own question with, "Yes, there is an understanding of Genesis that is simple and elegant", would be for me to be implying that I have an answer that meets the criteria I set forth in my question.
And I do. And it is different, as I said before and as near as I've been able to determine. That is, I've not found anyone else, yet, who's started
their understanding of Genesis with the *ahem* 'foundational' axiom I begin with, anyway.
I would bet though that James G. would say that a non-literal interpretation does answer more questions than it raises, because as I believe he points out, there are significant problems with a literal interpretation. My guess is that this is his motive for believing what he does.
I would agree with your assessment. But, will then ask, which
questions is he trying to answer by choosing to believe that the Creation account was meant to be taken figuratively?
The hard questions raised by the Augustinian/Calvinist conclusion that Elohim must
know that The Adam was going to turn before
He created them?
I do think that we tend to oversimplify some portions of the scripture rather than the opposite. I would also say that any explanation of scripture that goes against the mainstream view is necessarily going to require pages of explanation.
A logical conclusion. My reply to that would be to quote Occam's Razor, an axiom used in the scientific method to differentiate competing hypothesis: Simply stated it is:"When you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better."
Of course, theology has always been strong on using (or abusing) logic and short on proof (exactly like the various cosmologies that are created to support evolution), but, still, I believe the Razor holds true, even with theology, so that the fewer assumptions (axioms) needed to support a conclusion, the closer to the truth the conclusions are.
Simplicity is elegance and to be elegant is to be beautiful. So, is there in truth no
There have been over 125 'reads' of this thread and a few polite replies. So, I perceive that there may yet be some
interest in what I've typed, so far.
Lets see what happens now.
First off: As promised, logic's 'dirty little secret':
I have found that truth is split into two varieties or kinds.
First, there are facts, which are easily understood and verifiable statements of truth.
"The sky is blue."
"I love my wife."
"My van needs an oil change."
"My cats are hungry."
"That word is spelled wrong."
"Tony Stewart is the 2005 Nextel Cup Champion."
"Combining Sodium (Na) a metal, with water (H2O) a covalently bonded compound, will cause a violent reaction, generating heat and motion till either the sodium or the water are completely consumed in the transformation process."
And there are axioms.
I like this definition of an axiom:
An axiom is a formal assumption, also called a postulate, which we
propose to assume is always valid.
are free to formulate axioms anyway we please
, it is clearly desirable that any axioms we adopt lead to useful consequences.A set of axioms must not lead to contradictory conclusions.
The words property
are sometimes used to denote an axiom and certain of their consequences.
That came from my old Algebra text book.
However, can you see how that definiton applies in all areas of expertise and experience where human beings exist together?
In Law they are called Natural Law.
In relationships they are called Principals.
In other branches of science they are called Properties.
They are self-evident truths that usually can't be proven, except by experience, and are generally accepted as true because they simply make sense
to all humans everywhere.
Here are a few well known axioms:
a+b+c = (a+b)+c
Don't take what doesn't belong to you
The shortest distant between two points is a straight line
Don't have sex with anyone you're not married to.
If a=b and b=c then a=c.
Don't desire what you can't have.
Also, many proverbs and sayings are axiomatic because they reflect the truth of our experiences in a succinct, often whimsical, but sometimes ruthless, way.
Now, the truth is that truth works hand in hand with logic to provide conclusions with useful
But, the 'dirty little secret' is that logic works independently of the truth in the statements.
That is, you will always
arrive at a logical conclusion!
So, it follows, logically, that if the statements are true then the conclusion will also be true. But, if any of the statements are false, either axiomatically or factually, then the conclusion will also be false.
But the kicker is there will always be a conclusion
And that is why we argue, fuss and fight over our theologies! Because the logic of each and every theology (including mine) always has assumptions. And those assumptions are as different as there are humans who want to beleive what they want to believe.
And that is because, all to often, we search until we find the axioms that we can use to give us the conclusions we want.
And axioms can always be 'found' because we can make them up as we wish, 'proving' them later.
That is why it has been said of logic, facetiously, that it is a way of arriving at an incorrect conclusion with certianty!
And why I say, "Don't believe everything you think."
These are (whimsical) sayings and are, therefore, axioms.
OK. That's enough for now.
I don't want to go any further with my typing till I read an engaging reply from anyone who is curious about what I am blathering on about.
And the reason is because if there is no real
interest by anyone on Tentmaker in what I am typing here, then I'd rather move on.
For that is why I included, in my original post, a summation of the role the KJV translators played in establishing the theology of Saint Augustine and John Calvin in the English speaking mind; a theology whose conclusions most of you have rejected, at leat in part.
I say, in part, because I perceive that many of you still hold as truth several axioms that are an integral and necessary part of the theology of that misanthropic saint, Augustine and his sychophant, John Calvin.
In other words, I wrote my summation to show my solidarity, at least in part, with what you are wanting to accomplish here on Tentmaker and so demonstrate that I am not a threat. At least not yet, even as your perception of me will be what it will be.
And I choose Tentmaker to present these ideas of mine for debate because most all of you (even if you weren't aware of it) have experience in identifying inaccurate axioms and formulating the accurate axioms that lead you to the truthful and therefore correct conclusion that Jesus' accomplisment of the forgivness of sins was to reconcile all
things to the Father, including every human being who has lived, is living and will live, against
the tortured (and torturing) conclusions of Saint Augustine, as reflected in the logical and systematic theology designed
by John Calvin to support Augustine's conclusions. A theology that heavily
biased the KJV interpretors with the result that they made
The Words say what they wanted
them to say.
So, if there is no one on Tentmaker, who's interest I've peaked enough from what I've typed, so far, to engage me further, by answering some of my questions from their own understanding and in turn, asking some questions in return, then I will feel free to move on.
But, not before I encourage you all, once more, to be good!
It is, after all, what all of you, indeed every single human being, was created to be!