Guests for this series of Good Word broadcasts are Drs Bob Cushman, Vice President for Academic Administration and Alden Thompson, Professor of Biblical Studies at Walla Walla University (WWU). Moderator, host, and study guide author is Dr. David Thomas, Dean of the WWU School of Theology.
The lessons this quarter are all about origins, particularly about creation as the event is found laid out int he Bible. Now the minute this subject comes up, everyone knows it is surrounded with a host of problems and arguments and controversies. The regular adult Sabbath School lesson wades right into these debates and, in the opinion of the Good Word author this quarter, often tries to use scientific discoveries and ideas to shore up the Bible and what it teaches. It seems that is not a very good strategy for a least two reasons. First, science, by its own definition limits its process to the material universe. It has no too.ls for looking at or into the supernatural world. The creation story is built on the presumption of a supernatural world over which a sovereign God presides. In a foundational sense, then, science cannot be used to analyze the creation story. Secondly, if one tries to use science to shore up creation, what are we to do with those evidences that seem to mitigate against the biblical story for the findings of science can be used both ways? If the findings of science are to be the arbiter of truth, it seems one will have to be quite selective in the use of such findings. This is not to denigrate science at all, for it has been vastly valuable. But i has also been very detrimental to the human race, (consider the invention of nuclear weapons, for example). And it is a very big question as the whether or not we should allow science and its findings to be the arbiter of all truth, including biblical truth.
Because of this, in the Good Word lessons this quarter, we are going to try to take the Bible at face value. What might we glean from the creation account if we take it on its own terms for it certainly seems quite clear that the biblical writers envisioned creation account if we take it on its own terms for it certainly seems quite clear that the biblical writers envisioned creation as an actual event within history that unfolded in a week's time at the hands of a mighty and sovereign God, and they intended their reader's to envision things that way, too. They had not a clue about the modern process of knowing and all its complications. People today may argue for all they are worth to get to some other position that this one on the matter of origins, but the biblical case is quite clear - "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth," and by the end of the week, creation stood complete. What a person goes on to make of this foundational sentence will be determined, to a very large extent, by the other ideological commitments they have and feel it necessary to respect. Here we will try to deal with the Bible on its own terms, of course giving some consideration to the times in which it was written. By doing that, we will avoid all the now decades old dates and will likely find the study of origins to be much more beneficial. The biblical story was told the way it was told for a reason. This quarter, we will try to capture at least some of those reasons and significances.
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