Author Archives: James Penman
Summary: The nature of the language in Genesis 1 tells strongly against the view that it is a straightforward historical account. Quite simply, a straightforward historical account would not be written as Genesis 1 is written. The style and genre are not that of historical prose.
Among views of Genesis 1 held by Reformed thinkers, the Framework view has attracted much positive interest over the past hundred years or so. It is not, however, a novel view, as we shall see. The basic idea is that the week of Genesis 1 is a “literary framework”. Its highly artful, complex, quasi-poetic form shows that it isn’t a simple historical narrative; no one would communicate such a narrative in such a form. It is an “exalted prose hymn”. The material of the prose-hymn is arranged into the shape of a week, but it portrays God’s creative activity in a topical or thematic way rather than strictly chronologically. E.g. … Continue reading
The Theology of St John Chrysostom St John Chrysostom (347-407) is generally hailed as the most eloquent preacher in the Greek language among the early church fathers. The doctrine of divine providence saturates his sermons and treatises. This is particularly interesting, in that sometimes a strong doctrine of providence is associated with Augustinian theology.
A striking feature of current syntheses of Christian theism with evolutionary theory is an abandonment of the historic Christian doctrine of providence. It often seems as though we have a quasi-deist, hands-off God, who simply “lets things happen” without in any sense directing the outcome. The motivation behind this weak account of providence is, perhaps, a desire to “absolve” God from aspects of the evolutionary process and its products that many modern minds find problematic – e.g. animal suffering over geological time, species extinction, dysteleology (poor design).
EVOLUTIONARY CREATIONISM AND REFORMED THEOLOGY I said that there are several different ways in which we could envisage Adam fitting into an Evolutionary Creationist scenario. The key question is how Adam relates to the rest of the image-bearing race in terms of (i) their original possession of the divine image, and (ii) the transition into a state of sin and death.
EVOLUTIONARY CREATIONISM AND REFORMED THEOLOGY To clear the air I am a Reformed believer. My spiritual home is in the historic Reformed faith, specifically the family of churches that looks historically to the Westminster Confession as providing its theological framework. I am not a liberal, a Barthian, or any other such animal. My doctrine of scripture is Warfieldian. Alongside Warfield, my favorite theologians include Calvin, Turretin, Shedd, Dabney, Girardeau, and Louis Berkhof. I also have no problem, biblically or scientifically, with the General Theory of Evolution. The evidence for a family-tree of life, with modern forms descended from previous ones over geological time (Ken Hams dreaded millions of years), seems … Continue reading