Chapter 3: The Prescientific Cosmology Found in the Old and New Testaments 41
T he previous chapter considered an evolutionary creationist process for the origin of humanity. This included discussing the biblical account of creation recorded in the opening chapters of Genesis. In this chapter, I build on that information by considering other relevant portions of the Old and New Testaments. The goal is to do jus- tice to the historically-conditioned nature of the biblical texts by delib- erating on the prescientific cosmology found in them. On the one hand, the literature found in Scripture reflects an ancient Near Eastern cultural context. On the other hand, the biblical writers did not haphazardly ap- propriate concepts and terminology contemporary to them. Instead, they made use of the prevailing outlook of their pagan neighbors in a discerning, critical manner for illustrative, allusive, and polemical rea- sons (cf. Collins 2006a:242; Currid 2003:51; Fretheim 2005:27–28; Hyers 1984:61; Gordon 2007:230–231, 238–239; Harlow 2010:182; Hyers 2003:29–30; Kaufmann 1960:13–14; Levenson 1988:54–55; Mabie 2008:51; McGrath 2001:152–153, 155; O’Dowd 2008:60; Oswalt 2009:17–18; Pow- ell 2003:10; Stadelmann 1970:17, 24, 178–179; Stek 1990:230–232; Van Till 1999:210). A case in point would be the way in which the inhabitants of the Fertile Crescent living in the third millennium B.C.E. through the first century A.C.E. conceptualized the spatio-physical world. Along with them, the covenant community shared the three-tiered concept of reality found in the Genesis creation account. Furthermore, this...
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