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THE WORLDVIEW APPROACH TO BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION by Carol A. Hill Fellow, ASA

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By Starlight - Posted on 23 April 2010

Abstract
The Worldview Approach is a new way of viewing Scripture in the science/Origins debate. It proposes a “dual nature” for the biblical text where the worldview of the biblical authors is superimposed over a historical base. In this dual view, God entered the time line of human history to give his revelation to certain selected individuals. This revelation was then passed down to the biblical authors who accommodated this revelation within the context of their own worldview. The Worldview Approach is compared to three other approaches to biblical interpretation: Young-Earth Creationism, Progressive Creationism, and Accommodation.

Introduction
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) 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 time-line 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 pre-history 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 who are 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 attached PDF file

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JL's picture

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

Two question:

Is Scripture divine?

Is Scripture human?

The textual critics of the 19th century assumed Scripture was human and neglected the divine. Concerning Scripture, they are Arians.

The Fundamentalist reaction in the early 20th century assumed Scripture was divine and neglected the humanness. Concerning Scripture, they are Docetists.

Like Jesus, Scripture is both divine and human and needs to be treated as such.

Carol Hill is attempting to do just that.

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Coauthor Beyond Creation Science

Blessings,

JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Sam's picture

I propose, with Crossan, that Jesus was not born a virgin, nor was he incarnate. Rather, the historical Jesus, known through archeology and historical documents, was superimposed upon by his followers to "color" his unique ministry into a "son of God" motif that was current in the first century, and particularly among the Roman cults-of-Caesar-worship. The Gospel accounts do not give us "history". They give us "history interpreted" by devotees that superimpose on the "facts" of history. By this method we can demythologize the Gospel accounts and strip away the husks of myth and get to the real, "historical" Jesus......Is April Fools over, yet?

Starlight's picture

Sam,

I understand your concerns and can agree with some of your premise. I presented this article not as one I 100% agree with but with the idea to reveal that there are others outside of Preterism that are striving with some of the same issues that we all debate vigorously. Carol Hill is challenging some of those who do not ascribe Adam as a historic person. I realize you disagree with Carol's premise of Adam as a dispenstional Head since it falls in line somewhat with Covenant Creation but it broadens the scope of those who are interfacing on these subjects.

Blessings brother

Norm

Starlight's picture

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

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