Bruce Waltke — Framework & Theology in Genesis

Waltke-page (needs fixing on 4-22-08), fw-bw.htm
Genesis: A Commentary (Bruce Waltke)
negative young-earth review by Andrew Kulikovsky

by a representative for Christian Education and Publications of the Presbyterian Church in America

In Genesis we meet the creator God who is one and the same as the covenant making and keeping God. Two statements by Waltke reflect the importance of Genesis: A Commentary. First, “As God unfolds the drama of creation in successive days, building to a climax, so God develops the drama of history through successive epochs, which reach a dramatic climax when all volitional creatures bow to Christ.” Second, “The order of creation will undergird God’s later revelations regarding humanity’s social order. His law (the teachings of Scripture) is in harmony with the created order. Thus, to flout his revealed moral order is to contradict creation, his created reality.”
While I appreciate his exegesis of each passage of Genesis, I particularly find Waltke’s treatment of chapters 1 through 3 extremely useful and helpful. You will quickly see what I mean as you read his observations on the Genesis account of man’s creation in God’s image and likeness. He writes, “Understanding that we are made in the image of God is essential for understanding our destiny and relationship to God. Without revelation humans become confused and depreciate themselves.” He further writes, “The narrator (of Genesis) does not systematically present abstract truths about the divine; rather he tells us a story about the Creator and his creation.”


Douglas Brown, in his review for Sharper Iron.

~On Creation
He often brings out differing interpretations, then makes his own viewpoint known. He states that Genesis 1:1 “encapsulates the entire narrative” (p. 58) of the creation account. In other words, 1:1 is a “summary of the whole account” (p. 58) of the creation by God, not the beginning point of creation. This summary, as Waltke says, begins in verse 2 with the surd evil earth “already present, although undifferentiated and unformed” (p. 59). In his comments on the word “day” found in Genesis 1:5, Waltke discusses three proposed interpretations: “literal twenty-four-hour periods, extended ages or epochs, and structures of a literary framework designed to illustrate the orderly nature of God’s creation and to enable the covenant people to mime the Creator” (p. 61). Later, he states what he believes:
"The third interpretation is consistent with the text’s emphasis on theological, rather than scientific, issues. The presentation of creation through “days” reveals God’s sovereign ordering of creation and God’s care to accommodate himself to humanity in finite and understandable terms. (p. 61)"

Andrew S. Kulikovsky

Waltke adopts a type of literary framework view, that is, a ‘dischronologized’ literary account rather than a strictly historical account. The narrator’s concern is theological rather than historical. Waltke claims Genesis 1 is not a record of human history since no humans were present. It is unlike any other account, and bears little resemblance to modern conceptions of history, thus it cannot be seen as ‘straightforward or positivistic history’ (pp. 75–76). But why should we limit sources of historical and factual information to the records of human eyewitnesses? Is not God’s own divine and inerrant revelation of history completely factual? Was God not an eyewitness to His own creation? To suggest that Genesis 1 is not a strictly historical account because no humans were around is ludicrous. Furthermore, Genesis 1 is grammatically and formally no different from the other historical accounts recorded in Genesis, so Waltke’s judgment on the genre of Genesis 1 is completely arbitrary.
It should also be noted that history and theology are not mutually exclusive. In fact, God’s actions in history are central to Christianity, and all of Christian theology is rooted in history! This is the one thing that sets Christianity apart from all other world religions and validates its truthfulness. In adopting such a view, Waltke has taken a subtle but significant step away from historic Christian doctrine and evangelical hermeneutical principles.

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DESIGN IN SCIENCE (re: Intelligent Design & Evolutionary Creation)