O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?



Before attending the 2009 ASA Annual Meeting in Waco, Texas, I had no intention of

writing another paper for Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith (PSCF). At that meeting I gave a talk entitled “The Worldview Approach to Biblical Interpretation and Origins: What it is and How it Differs From Accommodation.” However, at that meeting a number of people asked if I would publish my talk, and so I began to consider the possibility. Upon reflection of what I had written in an earlier article in PSCF on the Worldview Approach,1 and what I had talked about at the ASA Meeting,2 I decided to focus this paper on:

(1) A fundamental concept of the Worldview Approach; that is, the dual nature of the

biblical (especially Genesis) text. In this dual view, God entered into the time line of human

history to give his revelation to certain people in His chosen line. This revelation was then

passed down to the biblical authors, who accommodated this revelation to their pre-scientific

and historical worldviews. Thus, biblical history is a modification of real history, where the

worldview of the biblical authors is superimposed over a historical base.2

(2) A table emphasizing the differences between the Worldview Approach and three

other approaches to interpreting Scripture: Young-Earth Creationism, Progressive Creationism, and Accommodation. Not all of the differences between these four approaches will be covered in this paper – only those that significantly impact the essential points being made in the timeline discussion.

What is the Worldview Approach?

The basic premise of the Worldview Approach is that the Bible in its original context

records historical events if considered from the worldview of the biblical authors. By original

context I do not mean the King James Version of the Bible, or even the Hebrew Masoretic text. I mean that archeological evidence relevant to the culture of that day be considered along with what has come down to us as the written text. By historical I mean not only history and prehistory in a traditional sense, but also the historical, time-related, scientific disciplines such as archeology, anthropology, geology, and astronomy. By worldview I mean the basic way of

interpreting things and events that pervades a culture so thoroughly that it becomes that

culture’s concept of reality – what is good, what is important, what is sacred, and what is “real.” Worldview is similar to culture, but there are important differences. Cultural aspects of society can be seen or discerned; worldview cannot be easily perceived, especially by the people whoare molded by it. Worldview is all aspects of a culture bound up into a different way of thinking about the world. It is a mindset that stems from a culture – it is not the culture itself.

How the Worldview Approach to Biblical Interpretation Differs From Other Approaches

By comparison, let us examine the three approaches to biblical interpretation that are

most popular today: Young-Earth Creationism, Progressive Creationism, and Accommodation

Read the full 32 page article from the following pdf file


Views: 150

Comment by Norm on April 23, 2010 at 4:08pm
Carol Hill has graciously given me permission to post this extensive article that she recently wrote. Those that visit the ASA (American Scientific Association) web site may be aware of Carol’s extensive resume of writings published there for many years. This article as stated within is in response to request from those who encouraged Carol after hearing her presentation at the ASA meeting held at Baylor University last year.

Carol presented this article to ASA for publication recently but it appears that the review board was not accepting for some reason that is mysterious to me. Perhaps it may be because Carol’s approach disagrees with the Accommodation viewpoint of many of the review board’s personal approaches. What ever the reason given is I believe it is imperative to put this solid presentation of an alternative view of Adam and Genesis and Paul’s handling out into the public discourse.

It is disappointing though that Carol’s article was not given the prominence it deserves because recently Peter Enns has been leading discussion on the Biologos web site with articles that address this very core issue that Carol is presenting concerning Adam and Paul’s Romans 5 and 1 Cor 15 application. It would have been nice to have seen that debate also occur at ASA.

I believe Carol’s position parallels that of a Covenant Creation in some details and demonstrates that others outside of the Preterist hermeneutic are coming to similar conclusions. It is my belief that these issues may stimulate the realization that some core theological principles govern scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. However there will be differences and debatable ideas but this is the natural state of investigation that occurs as more and more people come to the plate concerning the ramifications of Genesis theology.

Norm Voss
Comment by Doug on April 23, 2010 at 4:22pm
I have not yet read the PDF file, but wanted to offer a comment on what you wrote so far.

First, let me say that I am in basic agreement with the "worldview" approach, though I don't like the term itself. It is not very descriptive of what this view means. Nevertheless, it is common sense that the original writers OF NECESSITY could not have written what they did any other way.

As a modern man, I too can only perceive and see things the way I have been reared to understand things. I am a city boy by and large, and I am not well versed in farming and hunting. I simply don't think of my world in agricultural and predatory terms. Yet I know that there are many cultures around today who cannot conceive of buying a plane ticket, catching a connecting flight, hailing a taxi, riding up an elevator, and meeting someone at a certain time at the top of a skyscraper. Such an idea is foreign to them. So if I were to write down how to do that, step by step, they would still be unable to do it - just because they haven't been acculturated to that way of thinking. Likewise, I could not make arrows from the forest, string a catgut bow, stalk prey, shoot it, skin it, cook it, and provide for my family. I would likely starve trying to do that.

So then what makes us think that Moses, separated by time and culture as he was, thought like modern man and wrote a message that was so universal in scope that we would be able to comprehend and apprehend its meaning today without great effort? Yet that is exactly what people do when they read the bible without taking those things into account.

In many ways our current culture is deficient in so many things and while the ancient cultures were "primitive" by our standards, there is so much they could do that we today have no idea how to do. Just a couple of generations ago our forebears who fought in WWII and sent people to the moon in a rickety paper-thin spacecraft with no more computing power than a calculator still makes me realize how, though we have lots of potential, we have lost touch with the ability to truly think deeply and come up with answers to the hard questions of life.
Comment by Norm on April 23, 2010 at 6:59pm

Thanks for the response. I personally would try to frame the discussion some other way than “World View” even though it does define the concept somewhat. I tend to call it a theological view but even that has its limitations. Ironically the idea that the ANE worldview drives the philosophy of the scriptures has limited application because what the Hebrew writers have done IMO is develop a literature narrative that projects something new and entirely at odds with ANE thinking. It is a world view there is no doubt but it is so complex theologically in its prophetic push that it is beyond simple description.

If you think about it the Jews thought of themselves as a special people and Nation of God yet in the kernel of their literature there is this abounding message that their Nation and people by and large were going to be destroyed and converted into something that defied imagination. Paul calls it a mystery revelation. This literature was continually turned out over hundreds of years and became reality in a way that few expected or could comprehend. The resurrection of Christ changed everything and put this literature in perspective. Who can imagine writers projecting nationalistically they are bound for destruction. The beauty of this literature is that it consistently testifies to the unity of this message from Genesis to Revelation. Mind boggling if you ask me.

As far as this current culture is concerned I believe it has always been so and will continue to be into the distant future. I’m a pessimist in that regard but optimistic that God is in control and is shaping events and people for His Glory in ways that we may not be paying attention to. Preterism should help us focus on loving God, ourselves and our neighbors first and foremost. If we get those principals down then it won’t matter as much if we continue in some ignorance.




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