Approach to Genesis >>back home
The Bible in various ways addresses the reader as the Word of God, as the Creator speaking publicly to men and women, explaining Himself to them and them to themselves. To do it justice therefore Genesis must be approached as a communication from God, not as myth which however meaningful is a human construct. Its relation to primitive creation myths and to scholarly theories about its origin are both considered.
As we enter this third millennium Genesis presents us with a view of the world and of human life radically different from that of our post‑modern culture. Few people today however know it well enough to have any serious opinion about what it means us to understand; that is often true even of such relatively familiar parts of scripture as the Sermon on the Mount. I am frankly a propagandist, and I am writing for those who are concerned to find a philosophy for life worthy of directing with conviction their whole thinking and living. My programme will be therefore to set out as fairly as I can the Bible's positive teaching in Genesis about our human existence so that first, its own wonder, coherence and self‑consistency can be appreciated; and second, so that its degree of harmony (or otherwise) with its great present day rival, secularist neo‑Darwinism, may be intelligently assessed. In doing so I shall often use the phrase 'on biblical premises'. This will not mean that I am taking for granted what I want to prove, but simply that I am clearing the logical ground to make plain where my argument takes off.
With all this in mind we have already examined the teaching of the Old Testament about the character of the God it proclaims as Creator, making man in His image and giving him dominion over all the work of His hand, and I hope have concluded that this is fully in keeping with the success story of the scientific enterprise in so far as it concerns the physical cosmos; for the cosmos has proved to be a rational unity, subject to law and order, able to sustain a wealth of life forms, and moreover, open to investigation through our physical senses. Thus, men and women have come to realize with surprise and delight that they have the powers to fathom already many of its profoundest workings ‑ a fact Einstein himself declared 'incomprehensible':
"The only incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible"1.
Men have indeed found themselves creating mathematical systems of extreme abstraction and beauty which subsequently, (sometimes long afterwards), mirror and master nature's profoundest depths 2. Up to this point therefore, science and biblical teaching seem to be in full accord. In harmony with this is the further belief that God Who at creation had appointed man His vicegerent 3, would have given him and his race in due course an inscripted account of His creative work (I am referring of course to Genesis), to be passed on to future generations; and that this would stress not mechanism (which He had already given man faculties to 'search out' and to 'ponder' for himself, Ps.111.2), but purpose and final meaning (which must otherwise remain unknown) 4. To say this is not, I maintain, special pleading; rather it is something which would have surprised us if things had been otherwise. However we must examine the Genesis story in some of its more problematical details before we can see how the whole relates to neo‑Darwinism.The significance of Genesis
Genesis is the first of the five opening books of the Old Testament known collectively as the Pentateuch. It was attributed by the Jews of Christ's day to their great lawgiver Moses. That would give the Pentateuch a considerable antiquity, for the date of the exodus from Egypt under Moses was around 1300 BC. The Jews of Christ's day believed that God had spoken to Moses in revelatory fashion 5. This gave the Pentateuch divine authority, a tradition Jesus accepted 6. Is that enough however for our 21st century? What shall we say of the Koran believed by Moslems to have been revealed to Muhammad about AD 616? And didn't Joseph Smith who founded the Church of Latter Day Saints in 1830 make a similar sort of claim for the Book of Mormon? And haven't there been many others? 7 This is no place to try to discuss all these in detail (for some of these convictions are held very conscientiously); but I must state a particular reaction of my own. The Bible says that God is the sovereign Creator of wisdom, righteousness, power and love. But humanity's selfish behaviour, passion and violence have been through all history the same as our century knows only too well. In these circumstances the early provision by God of an inscripted, lucid, publicly‑accessible "Directory for Happy Living" is not an unreasonable expectation; (also, so are competitors). If we mean business therefore, we cannot deny the wisdom of examining the Bible for ourselves. But we must give it the opportunity to do so; no one can do this for us. The reward may be tremendous: an answer to those probing questions, Has our existence any purpose? Does death end all? and so on. The answers to such riddles are beyond the scope of science 8. But the Bible answers them all with authority9. And that brings us to Genesis.Why the Bible?
Of course, the Bible came through human authors, and no doubt its individual books have been edited by human editors. But it is the Bible's fundamental understanding of man that God made him to be His fellow‑worker in a junior capacity (1Cor.3.5‑9; Luke 22.29), so there is nothing in this human involvement to surprise us. The 'programming' of revelation (what comes earlier, what later) would surely reflect God's sovereign wisdom; an earlier word may well cast light on a later and greater one; but in its turn receive light from the latter. Abraham's sacrifice of his son Isaac is a case in point (Gen.22.1ff; Rom.8.32; John 3.16).
This common pattern of things in the Bible arises from and confirms its unity. Take for instance a prophecy of local import (Isa.7.10‑16; 8.3f) about the historical predicament of Judah. This came as a promise to the nation; but its early fulfilment also brought a powerful reassurance to the godly among them of the coming certainty of a divine act of far greater significance hundreds of years later (Isa.9.1‑7). Matt.1.22f ties the two together through the common use of the name 'Immanuel', and each thus adds substance to the other, Richard Dawkins' Hebrew, Greek and historical scholarship notwithstanding 10!
This is, the Bible implies, the way in which God teaches man science too (Isa.28.23‑26); Newton's falling apple gave him his clue to planetary motion. There is no reason therefore to doubt that the very Bible we now have in our hands is to be regarded as God‑given as we face our historically new and highly important question: what light can the Genesis account and neo‑Darwinism throw on each other?The Paradox of Double Agency
Here we must face up to a fundamental paradox which permeates the whole Bible and apart from which much there cannot be fully understood. A simple example is in Genesis itself. Joseph's brothers out of envy had sold him as a slave into Egypt where he rose to be Prime Minister. Years later the whole family had to migrate to Egypt because of famine. The old father Jacob died there, and the brothers fearful that Joseph would now take his revenge. came to placate him with entreaties. This was his reply:
Fear not . . . as for you, ye meant evil against me, but God meant it for good (Gen.50.20; RV for close literalness).
This is paradox indeed! How can two independent agents both be responsible for such a thing and from different and opposite motives 11? Another example on a larger scale is from Isaiah. Compare in chap. X vv.5,6 with vv.7ff. God declares in the former that He is sending the Assyrian armies against Israel to punish His people for their godless inhumanity (see vv.1‑4). They were as a result "troddendown like mire in the streets" as secular history records. However the Assyrian's own intention was quite different from God's. It was pitiless self‑aggrandisement, (for which he will in turn be punished, vv.5,12). How these two propositions can both be true at once is not easy to grasp; but the situation even here pales into insignificance beside what (according to the Bible), is the turning point of universal history 12, the event we refer to as the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, or more briefly, Calvary. In referring to this I shall be repeating an argument I used before. I do so without apology because it concerns a matter of fundamental and overarching importance ‑ but which is often overlooked or ignored; and I remind the reader that the matter at issue for the moment is not so much whether the Bible is right in what it says, as whether it has logical self‑consistency in saying it.
The event we call Calvary is to the professional historian, the entirely understandable outcome of certain historical, sociological, cultic, and individualistic factors. A motley assemblage of men and movements were somehow by the accidents of history fused together into an uneasy unity: the ambitious chief priests, the Sadducees, scribes and Pharisees, the Herodians, Zealots and Roman soldiery, Pontius Pilate, Herod, and the traitor Judas. An idealistic and non‑violent young prophet named Jesus fell foul of their combined forces. The result was almost predictable. and certainly quite understandable in entirely naturalistic terms. I personally would not wish to dispute this. Yet the Bible tells us that from the point of view of the Sovereign Lord all was, in sacred mystery, the outworking of a single predestined divine plan (Acts 2.23 RSV):
this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men
said Peter as he preached 14. Further, it tells us that salvation for men and women hangs on their response to this fact of history. To think that the key to the meaning of Calvary lies in the hands of the professional historian ‑ or any other professional for that matter ‑ is to miss its real significance altogether ‑ an incalculabale loss 15.
Now what is true of the events of Calvary as the Doing of God is true also (I would argue) of Scripture as the Oracles of God 16. The secular historian investigates the one, the critical scholar the other. Their studies issue in naturalistic reports. Within their own terms of reference these may be both wholly accurate and entirely valid ‑ but they miss the great essential. That isn't their fault as professionals; they are tuned necessarily to a specialist wavelength, or (to change the metaphor) focused on their professional level. What is inexcusable however (and we are thinking now of Scripture) is when they deny, on the ground of their findings, that God is speaking here and now in true and authoritative fashion and in the language. of perspicuity to humble hearts ‑ speaking about the great themes of Creation and Redemption, Eden and Gethsemane. Theirs would then be a denial whose substance could not for a moment be conceded. It takes the Bible as divine revelation effectively out of the hands of the common man, and distances God from men and women as a public communicator, as One whose authentic Word we can now share and ponder together like the Jews of Berea, who were more noble because they examined the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul said was true (Acts 17.11). It is the practice of doing the same sort of thing with the Book of Nature that gives science its authority, and means that in the end, (provided it is true to itself by sticking to what it finds there) it eventually gets its answers right 17. For all scientific evidence is accessible at will to man as man 8, anyone can repeat an experiment, examine a fossil, or even in principle, land on Mars. The point I am now stressing is that (again on biblical premises) there is knowledge for man to seek far more valuable than scientific knowledge (John 8.32; 12.25), and an all‑wise Creator has not left His creatures less well‑provided for in doing so (again Acts17.11).Interpretation
That is one reason why I believe Genesis (as we now have it) should be approached open‑mindedly as the written Word of God. Our next problem (as it is in science) is interpretation.. What are we to make of our data? How to understand it? Much has been written about this 18, and a number of significant instances are discussed later. Scripture naturally assumes precedence as its own interpreter, and with this in mind a point of rather fundamental importance may be raised at once. It is suggested by a parable which Jesus addressed to the crowds at Jerusalem when the chief priests challenged him about his authority to cleanse the temple. It is usually referred to as the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen 19. We notice two things. It is in the language of metaphor, but its reference is historically concrete ‑ the story refers to particular people and happenings. Jesus meant his hearers to understand it as setting out the divine perspective on the nation's religious history, and they took it as such. Israel is the vineyard, its religious leaders are the tenants, the prophets are the servants sent for the fruit, and Jesus is the beloved Son. The parable (unlike those of the Prodigal Son or the Sower) is 'historically particular'. It illustrates a mode of speaking often found in Scripture, and there are reasons for taking the narratives of Eden, of the Two Trees and of the final expulsion like this. But that can be quite consistent with the story setting forth from God's standpoint, real history 20.
We return to our subject. Sermons can be of different sorts, as everyone knows. Can we be more specific, in particular about Genesis as a divine 'sermon'? Are the early chapters 'myth' for instance? The word 'myth' is unfortunately a bit ambiguous. To the layman it usually means a story without foundation, a mere figment of the imagination. To the scholar however, myth may be related to truth, but rarely to real events of history; it is more abstract. With this in mind, what can we say of the early chapters of Genesis? For reasons enlarged on later, the story of Eden and the Fall cannot be regarded as myth even in this sense 21, but rather as similar to the accounts in the New Testament of the temptations of Jesus (Matt.4; Mark 1; Luke 4). These were events which the Gospels clearly intend us to regard as historical; but they embraced not only the world of the senses but also the spirit world we cannot see, but which has some access to us. That is why not every detail of the Gospel record is open to the question "What would this have looked like on a video‑recording?" The recorder would have totally missed many things! The problem for the secularist is that he has already made up his mind that there is no such unseen world; he is bound therefore similarly to misunderstand Genesis if he regards it as describing what a video would have captured. The believer finds little difficulty here; his experience in prayer and what follows as divine answer bring the two realities, the seen and the unseen, into effective correspondence.
This brings us to the Creation account. Consider the subject matter with which Genesis 1 deals. A video‑recorder on the scene using lapsed‑time technique could have captured, one imagines, a great deal of what went on ‑ the vast movement of the seas and the appearing of the dry land; the sprouting of the vegetation and the teeming of the waters; the appearing of birds and of reptiles, then of land creatures, and finally of man. I believe that thinkers such as Professors Richard Dawkins and Peter Atkins, had they been privileged to view the video, would have smiled with satisfaction and congratulated one another ‑ "Here we have proof; we are right, gloriously right! everything evolved and God is nowhere to be seen or heard!" If I am right in this, they would have gravely misunderstood the language of the Bible; it nowhere implies, for example, that the Creator could have been seen or heard, or for that matter that new plant and animal species had suddenly appeared fully formed. The video recording, I maintain, would support the biblical account just as arguably as it would theirs; it would favour neither. If they disagree, to what sort of thing on the recording would they point? Do they think the tape would have recorded a voice saying "Let there be light", or a video signal showing the Deity (in some form or other) moulding clay into a human form and then breathing on it? Such ideas are too naive and out of keeping with the genius of the Bible to be entertained for a moment. True, God does appear later in the Bible in what are technically referred to as 'theophanies', but the situations are very different. His power is always veiled and muted as He condescends to men, by then with some history behind them22. So I conclude that the creation narrative does record the occurrence in pre‑history of real events, but it also bears witness to their invisible divine authorship. The 'happenings' were historical; the 'God said' occasions some scholars might call 'mythical'. But this latter word is too tainted to be accepted without protest. A better word is 'metaphysical'. How we distinguish between the historical and the metaphysical (as between the literal and the metaphorical 23) is a matter of usage and common sense. There are no a priori rules. But as we saw in the Introduction, science faces a similar situation.
Looking at Scripture as 'God preaching' 37 yields positive insights. Every preacher faces a mixed audience; and every good preacher aims to be comprehensible, in His really for‑ever matters, not only to all who are there‑and‑then listening, but to all who will hear afterwards. God is the preacher par excellence. Thus there is always a message in His preaching addressed to the immediate audience and in words suited to their understanding; but since He wastes no time in needless trivialities, a message vital for later hearers too. The prophecy in Isaiah 7 about the 'young woman' who was to conceive was addressed in the first place to King Ahaz, and was intelligible to him where he stood. But the New Testament makes it plain that when God preached that sermon He had more distant horizons in view as well and servants (like Joseph 24) not yet born. It had a larger significance than Ahaz could know; the immediate reference of the prophecy (demonstrating God's power over present events) would presage a far greater one to come. Such prefatory and instructive occasions are, in fact, something quite frequent in the Bible 25. It is reasonable therefore to maintain that the casting of the creation narrative into the pattern of the 'six days' was a device designed to convey a present message to those listening, and also in terms still equally user‑friendly, a vital one to generations coming later. To Israel at the time the purpose was to confirm there and then a weekly pattern of life ‑ six days of disciplined work followed by one of rest and reflection on their covenant relationship with their Maker. For us to read it now as an introduction to a 'scientific' cosmology is a great mistake; as such, it could have had little value then for them. In language plain enough to the ordinary man and woman then it indicated their Maker's beneficent routine for daily living. Later, when the seven days' week had taken root in Israel's life the significance of 'seven' becomes widened 26 and when the forty years were fully up and the next generation were about to enter the Promised Land, the reference to the 'six days' of creation was dropped altogether for something more important ‑ their deliverance from slavery (Deut. 5.12ff; see also Appendix II).
What is truly surprising is that this whole ancient record, rightly understood in its own terms, can be set alongside the best of modern scientific thought and be seen to hold its own. Can anything remotely comparable be said of any of the creation myths of the ancient world ‑ the Babylonian or Egyptian for instance?Ancient creation myths
The mention of ancient creation myths raises some further interesting questions. It has been customary in some quarters to regard these myths as primary and the Genesis narrative as secondary, that is, as based on them but improved immeasurably by the genius of Israel's religious thinkers. Certainly the two have interesting elements in common. But it is no more necessary to regard the Genesis account as derived from (say) the Babylonian than it is to regard the Ten Commandments as derived from the earlier code of Hammurapi. C S Lewis has a remark 27 that great moralists are sent not to teach people the moral law but to remind them of it, "to restate the primeval moral platitudes"; for men have already an inborn sense of what is right and wrong, defective though this may be 28. In a rather similar way it is entirely reasonable (on biblical premises still) to believe that very early, man had already an inherited understanding of the origin of things, though a sadly distorted one, an understanding to which these ancient myths bear witness 29. The Mosaic revelation recalled Israel (and the world) to a true understanding. This would account both for the common elements in all these early narratives (including Genesis) and for the enduring excellence and theological pre‑eminence of the latter. Of these common elements, the 'deep' in Genesis 1.2 corresponds etymologically to Tiamat in the Babylonian myth; but whereas Tiamat was "the goddess of the primeval World‑Ocean, who had existed from time immemorial and was the mighty foe of the Creative God" 30, in Genesis God, as Kidner notes 18, has no rival; the deep is merely part of the created world. "waiting to receive whatever impress His will places upon it". Again, the ancient myths included stories of battles between the gods and great sea monsters such as the Dragon of the Sea, Leviathan the Fleeing Serpent and Leviathan the Twisting Serpent 31. In Genesis 1 the 'great sea monsters' are singled out deliberately (v.21) and mentioned simply as members of God's creation, like others the recipients of His blessing. Similarly, in a manner calculated (again probably deliberately) to deny any grounds for religious veneration 32, the sun, moon and stars are introduced as the Creator's handiwork (vv.14‑18). the sun and moon being dignified not even by their recognized names but only by their functions; and the sun, made on the fourth day, being pointedly distinguished from light, which was called forth on the first. These comments suggest very plausible reasons why the 'elements' mentioned – the deep, the sea monsters and the heavenly bodies ‑ are introduced into the narrative in the casual way that these prominent things are. Far from indicating a derivation of Israel's doctrine from the myths of surrounding nations as some think, there is a necessary stress on creaturehood33.
For God is here "preaching to men", and His glory He will never give to bogus gods such as the other nations worshipped (Isa.42.8).
We shall meet the subject of interpretation again inevitably in subsequent chapters, and also the question of myth; but a few further remarks of a general nature are appropriate before this chapter closes.
Biblical scholars today often speak of the first chapter of Genesis as 'priestly doctrine', gradually refined over the centuries and brought into its present form by one or more editors or 'redactors'. The second and third chapters are more commonly regarded as myth, though serious and profound myth. These views, even if they were correct, would surely be profoundly inadequate. As I have argued earlier, the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ can be understood in his own terms and to his complete satisfaction, by a purely secular historian: and his description of events and explanation of causes may be proof against all arguments. But to faith such an understanding (taken alone) is hopelessly deficient. To faith (not in the sense of capacity to believe or propensity to do so, but in the sense of spiritual perception) this event is the turning point of universal history, the prodigious act in which God moved to reconcile a world‑in‑revolt to Himself. This realisation is denied the secularist not by logic and reason. but by the fact that he has chosen to disbelieve in a Creator and so in a rebellion against Him. Through the Bible the eye of faith has been opened to see things another way; Calvary was God's act before it was man's 34. What I am maintaining is that something similar is true of the Genesis narratives. They are God speaking, however many redactors there may have been. This position can be maintained as firmly as can the whole New Testament message 35. Critical scholarship has moved a long way in its appreciation of this wonderful literature since the Babylonian creation myths were first discovered in 1853 and Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859. It may still have much further to go; but the Christian reader will echo the affirmation of a great biblical scholar, Gerhard von Rad 36. He was referring to the comment of a Jewish scholar, Franz Rosenzweig, that the sign 'R' (for the postulated 'redactor' of the Genesis documents) should be interpreted as Rabbenu ('our master'), a tribute to the greatness of his work. "But for us", says von Rad "in respect to hermeneutics, even the redactor is not 'our master'. We receive the Old Testament from the hands of Jesus Christ, and therefore all exegesis of the Old Testament depends on whom one thinks Jesus Christ to be". That is truly said, and it is worth pondering. It may well lead the reader to the conclusion that Genesis (and all that follows it in the Bible) must be God speaking: God explaining Himself to men, and men to themselves. For it looks uncommonly like "God preaching" 37 to His creatures, and taking as His text now history, now nature, now experience ‑ telling them where they came from, why they are here and how they may find that free, happy existence they all want so unreservedly. Since science and philosophy have come up with no lasting and satisfying answers, we might as well look again at these incomparable writings, authenticated as they are to us by no less than JESUS CHRIST Himself 38.
1 Einstein, as this remark of his suggests, was not himself a believer in the God of the Bible.
2 See Steven Weinberg, DREAMS OF A FINAL THEORY 1993 Hutchinson Radius, London.
3 Gen. 1.28f, where God spoke uniquely to them and said "replenish, subdue, have dominion".
4 See for instance, Mark 10.2‑9; John 9.1‑3; 13.6,7: Rom.8.18‑39; 11.33‑36; Eph.l.3‑10; Heb.2.10; 2 Pet.3.11‑13
5 John 9.29
6 Matt.4.4,7,10; 5.17ff; 19.3ff; 22.29; Mk.7.10ff; 12.19,24ff; Luke 16.29ff; 20.28ff; 24.25ff,44ff; John2.22; 5.39‑46; 7.38; 19.28.36f. Prof James Barr, although a strong opponent of the view taken here, writes, "There is no doubt that Jesus, as depicted in the Gospels, accepted the ancient Jewish Scriptures as the Word of God and authoritative" : ESCAPING FROM FUNDAMENTALISM (SCM Press 1984). His successor at Oxford. Prof John Barton, another opponent, agrees: PEOPLE OF THE BOOK? (SPCK 1988).
7 See Jesus' parable, Matt.13.24ff; also Luke 21.8; Acts 20.29f,33
8 Physics, like all true sciences, is based finally on evidence which is "in principle accessible at will to man as man"; this clearly rules out 'final purpose'. See Michael Foster, MYSTERY AND PHILOSOPHY (SCM Press, London 1957)
9 Gen.12.1‑3: Isa.42.1‑9; Matt.25.46; John 10.27f; Rom.8.18‑28; Rev.22.3: the possible references are legion.
10 See also Paul's use of Ps.68.18 in Eph.4.8f, or of Isa.25.8 in 1Cor.15.54f; for Dawkins, see THE SELFISH GENE. 1989, p.270
11 For the writer's attempt to throw light on this paradox see Churchman 112/4 1998 pp.357‑362. The essence is that while God ordains the event, men act it out from their own motives (Isa.10.6.7)
12 See Gen.3.15; Matt.26.53‑56: John 12.23‑33; 17.1‑5; Luke 24.36‑53; Acts 17.22‑31; Gal.4.4; 2 Cor.5.14‑21: Phi1.2.5‑i1; 1John 4.14: Rev.5.5‑14
13 Mark 15.10; Matt.21.38; John 11.48; 19.12
14 See further Ps.2; Mk. 10.45: Luke 24.20,25‑27,44‑47; Acts 2.23; 4.24‑28; Rom.8.28‑32; 11.33‑36; Ga1.4.4; Eph.1.9‑11; 1Pet.1.18‑20; Rev.13.8.
15 Luke 10.21‑24; 1Cor.1.18‑29; 2.6‑13; cf. Isa.66.2
16 Rom.3.2f. It is a consequence of the principle I am defending that while it may be an important truth that (e.g.) the prologue to John's Gospel is 'the result of his mature theological reflection', the all‑important truth is that it is God‑given revelation, God speaking by the Holy Spirit (2Peter 1.20,21). That is what constitutes scripture the 'Oracles of God'. Academic brilliance and gifted reflection are not the same as this; cf. Amos 7.14ff.
17 Of course, this depends on its building only on well-founded evidence, and not incorporating into the foundations what is simply – speculation. It is in this that secular neo‑Darwinism is here being challenged.
18 See D. Kidner, GENESIS: An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale Press, 1967); and Henri Blocher, IN THE BEGINNING (Inter‑Varsity Press. 1984); both strongly recommended.
19 Luke 20.9‑19
20 Kidner has drawn attention to this (op. cit., p.66). Other examples are 2 Sam.12.1‑6: Isa.5.1‑6; Ezek.16.17ff; Dan.2.31‑45
21 Except in C S Lewis's sense ‑ see Preface to GOD IN THE DOCK (Collins. 1979).
22 e.g. Gen.18.1f,33; Exod.3.1‑6
23 As in John 18.11 where they are in close juxtaposition.
25 See for instance Gen.22 with Luke 22.42ff; Dan.12.8,9; Luke 10.23.24; 24.25; 20.38 with 2Tim.1.10; 1Cor.10.11; Eph.3.5,6 with Isa.49.6; 1Pet.1.10,11.
26 See Exod.31.12‑17; Lev.25.1‑22. I am far from suggesting that there were no thinkers in Israel who could have appreciated there and then the present suggestions about the 'days'‑ cf. John 8.56
27 C.S. Lewis, I think in MERE CHRISTIANITY (Geoffrey Bles, 1943)
29 Rom.1.20; cf.Isa.40.18‑21
30 U. Cassuto, GENESIS (Jerusalem,1961). See also Kidner, op.cit.
31 That these are mentioned in Isaiah 27.1 and elsewhere no more accords supernatural reality to them than does their mention in Exod.12.12 accord it to the gods of Egypt, or "God is the master of Chance" accords it to the latter.
32 cf. Deut.4.19; Jer.8.1,2; and G. von Rad, 1oc.cit. (under note 36)
33 See Kidner, op. cit.
34 John 18.11: Acts 2.23; 2Cor. 5.19
35 It would be quite inadequate to understand Paul's Epistle to the Romans as merely apostolic doctrine.
36 von Rad, G. COMMENTARY ON GENESIS, English trans. (SCM, London,1961) von Rad died in 1971. He was in no sense a 'fundamentalist'.
37 I believe I owe this description to Dr. J.I. Packer. God preaches sometimes directly as in Exod.20.lff with Deut.4.12; and in Isa.1.55; more often through His prophets (Heb.1.1,2). But in every case, as Augustine remarks, "What Scripture says, God says".
38 See e.g. Matt. 4.1-11; 22.29f, 41f; Mark 12.10; Luke 24.25f, 44f.