Editor’s Note: The following article by Daniel King is a rejoinder to a response Phil Roberts wrote to the material written by brother King, appearing in the December 2001 issue of Watchman Magazine. To view the initial material, click here. To read Phil Roberts’ response, click here.
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I read Phil Robert’s recent response to the five articles I wrote for Watchman in absolute amazement. If he is now a friend of the literal view of the Genesis account, then it needs no critics, it needs no opponents, and it needs no enemies!
It is also passing strange that everything he has accused me of, he is himself guilty of in respect both to his original lecture, and to this present brief “review” which he has written. The difference between us, as is so very obvious from his cursory response to our series of articles, is that I have shown myself completely willing to discuss these matters in a public venue, while he prefers to talk about them behind closed doors in private meetings without tape recorders or others means for verification of precisely what was and was not said. With this in mind, let me take this opportunity to renew our offer for a public discussion of these issues with one or more of the principals involved. Phil’s recent speeches and writings, along with the clear declaration of his stance on the fellowship question, now makes him one of the principals. We therefore extend the offer to Phil. If he is willing to enter into a public discussion, let us begin the process of working out acceptable propositions, terms and conditions, to that end. Continue reading » The Author’s Reply to Phil Roberts
In a final handout to the preachers and other invited guests assembled at Florida College this summer, brother Phil Roberts, under the heading Do You Accept the Literal Sense?, persisted in his argument against believing the Genesis account of creation is to be taken literally. Regarding Genesis 1:7 and Joshua 10:12-13, he wrote, "What would a person who knew nothing about modern astronomy assume that the passages were saying? What is the "plain sense" of the passages? Would somebody who rejected the "plain sense" in favor of an interpretation adjusted to fit modern knowledge of astronomy be a false teacher?"
Continue reading » The Plain Sense of Scripture
In the next section of brother Robert’s response to my own article and the writings of brethren who maintain a literal approach to the creation week (six consecutive 24 hour days), he derides simple and straightforward principles of biblical hermeneutics. To begin with, he questions our usage of terminology such as "the normal sense of the word ‘day’." Surely he does not imply by this that words do not have what we might describe as a "normal sense"? Such talk as this reminds us of the double-talk which we so commonly hear from the modernist and liberal who does every sort of dance around the ordinary and accepted meaning of words in order to avoid what common sense would suggest is the "normal sense" of the words employed by the inspired writers of Scripture. We have become accustomed to these word-games from them, but it will take us a while to acclimate ourselves to this new hermeneutic which is presently making itself felt among our brethren. Most pronouncements which we make in our language are not subject to interpretation. They simply say what they say. It is only the occasional remark which is subject to interpretive methods, because of certain contextual features which require a second look.
Continue reading » Phil Roberts’ View of "Days"
How Many Extra Generations Needed?
The second presentation handout about which I would like to comment is a page entitled How Many Extra Generations Needed/Allowed by King’s Methodology? It begins with a relative date of 1700 BC which he claims is the "approximate date of Abraham give(n) (sic) by King." More than once in his material Phil misrepresents me on this point. He takes off from the relative date which was cited in my article: "The approximate dates for the life of Abraham obtained from the biblical data and archaeology are 2000 to 1700 BC" (p. 1). He knows that liberal critics date the life of Abraham at 1700 or thereafter, since they offer the Nuzi and Mari material cultures and their documentary evidence as establishing a late date for the patriarchal age. Phil is well enough in tune with that argument to know that I do not accept the late date for the age of the patriarchal period. Many archaeologists do, however, opt for this later time slot. That is why I mentioned it in the article — not because I accept it. Note that in our earlier quotation from Hill’s handout, Hill himself mentions a date as late as 1800 BC!
Continue reading » Speculation Gone to Seed
We shall begin our treatment of these matters with a word about our earlier article: Let it be understood that we stand by what we wrote, and are happy to offer comment upon the criticisms of others as to the soundness of our essay. Our detractors make it sound as if they wish to maintain the sacred text against the speculations of one who compromises it with observations from history and archaeology. Nothing could be further from the truth. And it assuredly sounds as if the “pot is calling the kettle black” when we read such allegations flowing from the pen of someone who is defending Hill Roberts’ views as more inherently biblical than our own! Believe it who may! No one among conservative brethren in the past half century, in my experience at least, has represented an agent of change on such matters related to science and the Bible any more than brother Hill Roberts. And his brother Phil is now publicly casting his lot with him.
Continue reading » The Biblical Chronology
In the April, 1999 issue of Watchman Magazine, this writer penned an article on The Primeval Chronology wherein we reviewed an essay under the same title by Dr. William Henry Green of Princeton University, which appeared originally in the journal Bibliotheca Sacra in April of 1890 (more recently reprinted in Classical Evangelical Essays in OT Interpretation, edited by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Baker: 1980). The general topic of discussion was the question of what the age of the earth actually might be, especially in relation to Archbishop Ussher’s date of 4004 BC (or his alternative date of 4138 BC). We asked, “What is the foundation of a chronology of this sort? It is the assertion that the chronologies of Genesis 5 and 11 do not allow more than a few thousand years from Adam to Abraham” (p. 1).
This being the assumption which underlies Ussher’s date, in that brief article we set out to discuss the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 under the guidance of Green’s helpful dissertation. At the time the material was not viewed as particularly controversial or even important, because most everyone assumed that the points made in it were fairly simple and non-threatening, and especially so since everyone seemed to agree on that which was the basic thrust of the material. Certainly, no one raised public objection to that article at the time. And I received no correspondence taking issue with that study. This is so, I believe, because in my experience as a preacher and teacher of the Word, I have yet to encounter anyone who seriously entertains the propriety of Archbishop Ussher‘s chronology. This does not mean that they do not exist, it just means I have not run into them yet. I am sure they are out there! But they are rare, of that I am certain from my own experience.
Continue reading » The Seminar at Florida College
Editor’s Note: This article by Dan King is a review of Hill Roberts article appearing elsewhere in this issue. We encourage you to read both articles.
In spite of the fact that brother Hill Roberts has declared repeatedly that he will not discuss these matters with those of us who wrote and signed the Open Letter, he has recently posted another response on his web site to what has been written regarding his positions, and by this writer in particular. It appears that he will discuss them, but only on his terms, when and where he determines. Since we could not get him openly to debate these issues, we are happy to receive this response and have another opportunity to, in this limited sense at least, answer his quibbles and reply to the additional points he has made.
Hill divides his response into five sections and offers comments on these five separate topics. Since these are the only points he wishes to address at this time, we shall limit ourselves to the same five areas of discussion. At the end, we shall add a few concluding thoughts and questions regarding this controversy and Florida College. Continue reading » Reply to Hill Roberts’ “Floods, Science and Religion…” (King)
(Editor’s Note: This article is a review of the response Hill Roberts gave to the Open Letter. You may, for context, wish to read Roberts’ article first.)
It is comforting to note that brother Hill Roberts has finally “come out of the closet” to respond to our Open Letter. Up until now his silence has been deafening, and this is especially noteworthy since his writings and teachings are the major reason for the present controversy. However, it is sad that he has come out of hiding only momentarily. He informs us that it is true that he will not debate the issues regarding his views on Genesis 1– “sort of.” He says that he will debate the issue with those “demonstrating a spirit in accord with 1 Peter 3:15,” but “brothers who introduce themselves to me with the verbal equivalent of ‘Put ’em up’ will be disappointed.” We will let the reader decide for himself as to the spirit of the Open Letter and that of those who composed it. With respect to attitude, though, it is clear that brother Roberts has his own problems to deal with.
The Fools Who Wrote and Signed the Letter
As brother Roberts admits in his response, the two of us have never met, and I personally have no axe to grind with him nor reason to have any ill feelings toward him whatsoever. In spite of some of his very personal insults toward us, I still do not. I have known his parents for better than 30 years and love and admire them greatly. His brother Phil has been a colleague and friend for 25 years or more. He has obviously sprung from a wonderful Christian family. But that does not remove the taint which attaches to the doctrinal positions which he himself espouses. Those of us who signed the letter are sorry that he has not seen fit openly to discuss these matters. We have no desire to misrepresent or malign brother Roberts, but a man’s public writings and teachings are certainly subject to public review, and that is primarily what we had hoped that we could accomplish. We are sorry that he has seen fit to react by calling us all fools repeatedly in his response. Perhaps brother Roberts ought to pay some heed to the words of Christ on this subject, “Whosoever shall say, ‘Thou fool,’ shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matt. 5:22). Continue reading » Hill Robert’s Response To Our Open Letter (King)
My Position on Isaiah 7:14 and the Creation Controversy
As many have rightly concluded from the content of our recent Open Letter, it is the belief of those of us who wrote and signed it that the views of Hill Roberts and Shane Scott constitute a “damnable heresy” (2 Pet. 2:1), rather than merely an exotic alternative to traditional interpretation of the creation account in Genesis one. If we believed the latter, Harry Osborne and I would not have made the effort to write the letter or encourage others who share our conviction to sign it.
In the past several weeks I have been asked on several different occasions by various brethren to explain my personal motivation for having a part in its writing and ultimately putting my signature to the letter. Perhaps there are others who still are curious about my own specific reasons for doing so, since it is apparent to them from the past that I have had a special affinity for Florida College and a particular affection for many of the teachers and workers who function at the institution. In addition, I have been rightly described as “an academic” by training and temperament, so many feel that I have sold out to other non-academic interests by voicing my objections to recent developments at the school in so public a forum. Continue reading » My Position on Isaiah 7:14 and the Creation Controversy
What is the age of the earth? How long has man been here? Archbishop Ussher (1581-1656) fixed the date of creation at 4004 BC, and Dr. John Lightfoot (1602-75) went so far as to name the day and the hour. What is the foundation of a chronology of this sort? It is the assertion that the “chronologies” of Genesis 5 and 11 do not allow more than a few thousand years from Adam to Abraham. This is figured on the following basis:
The approximate dates for the life of Abraham obtained from the biblical data and archaeology are 2000 to 1700 BC. Abraham is the last generation listed in the genealogy of Gen. 11. Since this genealogy gives the age of each father at the birth of his son, we can calculate the time elapsed from the birth of Shem to the birth of Abraham as about 390 years. Similarly, Shem is the last in the genealogy in Gen. 5. Here too we have the age of each father at the birth of his son, and can calculate the time elapsed from the creation of Adam to the birth of Shem at 1,556 years. Adding the figures obtained from both, the time elapsed from Adam to Abraham is 1,946 years. This figure added to the known approximate date for Abraham results in the conclusion that Adam was created about 4000 BC or slightly more recently. Continue reading » The Primeval Chronology
Does Genesis 1-2 represent the vestiges of a primeval myth of the origin of the world? Comparative features are the most potent ally of the liberal scholar.
Some people are satisfied with such an explanation. But what are the consequences of such a view? They would certainly be that all of the Bible is suspect on the same ground. That is sufficient for some people; but not the apostle Peter: we have not followed “cleverly devised fables” (muthois; “myths” 2 Pet. 1:16). The Bible is not a dependable revelation of the mind of God for man if it is subject to the false notions of the time or if mythological thinking helped to create the final product of the biblical writers in any way. Continue reading » The Genesis Account and Ancient Myth
IntroductionThe first two chapters of Genesis contain the primary biblical information on creation. However, this portion of the Bible has been the object of numerous books and articles by various scholars which have placed interpretations upon the text that have little to do with what the original writer had in mind to say to his audience. Clearly, the meaning of any text of Scripture, as with any writing for that matter, has more to do with how it would have been perceived and understood by its original audience of readers rather than what any subsequent generation might force upon it based upon its unique presuppositions and world-views. The Genesis account of creation has been the subject of such “rethinking” and “reinterpreting” over the years, and this has brought into being quite a number of approaches to the narration proffered by the author of the document. Consequently, there is much controversy on the interpretation of certain features of the chapters. We shall have somewhat to say about these matters in the course of our presentation. Still, certain basic truths stand out in such a way as to be beyond controversy or quibble. Let us begin with a summary of a few of these points of general interest, and then move on to those aspects of the chapters which require further scrutiny: Continue reading » The Biblical Account: Genesis 1-2, Being Fair to the Text