In Reading Genesis 1–2: An Evangelical Conversation, Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages Richard Averbeck wrote that his attempt to present an “honest reading of Gen 1 from a literary, exegetical, historical, and theological point of view” is not “a matter of somehow finding more time in Gen 1 to accommodate the vast ages of evolutionary science.” Affirming something like a division of labor, Averbeck noted that as Old Testament scholars “we are not scientists,” even if the “discoveries in physical sciences most certainly cast a long shadow over the conversation.”
Dr. Averbeck picked up that conversation again this past Wednesday (Dec. 4) in the Rodine Café, first by briefly walking through his current interpretative work on Genesis 1–2, and then by fielding a few questions concerning the ramifications of that work.
At the outset, Averbeck noted that exegetical debates on this topic often produce far more heat than light. It seems that no matter how irenic, how careful, one’s interpretation is, it will polarize and offend.
Averbeck then recalled how for many years he had taken a literal day approach to the Genesis 1 creation narrative (and the often-attendant view that creation occurred recently), but the more he came across the various creation accounts throughout Scripture (e.g., Psalm 104), the more he realized these other inspired accounts actually can help us to better work through how we should be reading Genesis 1–2.
Beyond the biblical canon, Averbeck brought his knowledge of ancient Near Eastern texts and culture to bear on the discussion. In answer to the anxiety this may cause some evangelicals, Averbeck argued that knowing the world in which this portion of the Scriptures were written, including its own pagan versions of creation, helps to shed light on the biblical text in ways that both clarifies its context but also challenges many of the common assumptions of that ancient culture (for example, that Israel’s God Yahweh alone is the creator God of the cosmos).
Averbeck likened Genesis 1:1 to a title, a snapshot, a kind-of introductory remark about God’s creative activity, while the rest of the narrative (up to Gen. 2:3) unpacks that fact in terms of the observable world, that is, from a human perspective. It’s driving home the point, in short, that “Yahweh did this.” The days are also better seen as literary constructs, Averbeck said, rather than literal, 24-hour days, in order to bring home the importance of the pattern of 6/7—six days of work and a day of sabbath, both as a reflection of God’s creative work and as a witness of faithfulness to the one, true God of Israel in the surrounding pagan culture.
Another particularly interesting point had to do with Averbeck’s take on where the “image and likeness” of God is located in humankind. Too often we push the image of God into to the realm of metaphysics, or hyper-spiritualize it, Averbeck said. But it’s concrete, rooted in this physical world. To be created in the image of God is to be erected on earth as the creator God’s statue, meant to extend his wise dominion.
Also of crucial importance to Averbeck’s view is his insistence on a historical Adam and Eve, without which significant portions of Scripture would make little sense (for example, Rom. 5). He noted that the “historical markers” in Genesis 2, such as the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, point us in the direction of seeing the first pair as historical figures.
Averbeck then wrapped up with what he deemed to be one of Scripture’s major themes, introduced in Genesis 4:26 (the end of the section beginning at Gen. 2:4): It’s the only solution given in the midst of the plight we see unfolding in these early chapters of Scripture, and it is one that is often highlighted: “Calling upon the name of the LORD.” The rest of Scripture essentially tells the story of those who do and don’t follow that charge, eventually culminating in the one who did so perfectly, even unto the point of death, for the sake of the whole world.
Check out the following events at Trinity during this season of Advent!
Santa Lucia Festival: In honor of the Christian martyr Saint Lucy (or Santa Lucia), whose veneration has deep connections to the Trinity’s Scandinavian roots, Trinity students are encouraged to practice Christian service during this annual Advent celebration. Events surrounding this year’s Santa Lucia celebration include the annual dorm decorating contest, the Fair Trade Gift Market on Dec. 5, and the Christmas Service Project sponsored by Community Partnerships Cabinet on Dec. 7. Santa Lucia concludes with the annual Santa Lucia Formal Dance on Dec. 13, where this year’s Miss Santa Lucia — a freshman girl who best exemplifies the characteristics of Christian service and leadership — will be crowned. Any questions regarding service opportunities can be directed to TIU College Union.
TIU Christmas Concert: Saturday, Dec. 7 at 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Join Trinity’s music ensembles for the annual Christmas Concert “Come and Behold Him! A Festival of Lessons and Carols.” Come celebrate the Christmas season with performances from the Concert Choir, the Symphonic Band, and the Handbell Choir. This concert is open to the public. General admission is $12 ($10 for students/seniors, $8 for all TIU students, staff, faculty, and families). For more information or questions regarding group or family discounts, call (847) 317-8021.
Best Christmas Story Ever: Dec. 13 at 11:00 a.m. As per tradition, the semester’s final chapel service will give four students an opportunity to share their most cherished Christmas memories, with one to be crowned the “Best Christmas Story Ever.” Finish off the semester with laughs, tears, and everything in between at this special chapel service!
Trinity International University welcomed poet Dave Harrity on Tuesday, Nov. 19 and Wednesday, Nov. 20 for “Making Manifest Live,” a series of lectures and workshops that discussed the role of creativity as a spiritual discipline.
The series was named after Harrity’s most recent book, Making Manifest: On Faith, Creativity, and the Kingdom at Hand. The book is a 28-day devotional that uses writing exercises to focus on and promote the intersection of creativity, community, and the church.
While at Trinity, Harrity led two writing workshops. In the first workshop, participants—which included both students and staff—read and discussed a series of poems hand-picked by Harrity, who then led a writing exercise similar to those featured in Making Manifest. Between the two sessions, participants were given a second exercise to complete for the second workshop, where they discussed their creative processes and asked Harrity for advice on how to revise their own pieces.
Harrity also held two open lectures during his visit. The first lecture discussed how the church can re-imagine their efforts in making peace with their neighbors and communities through the use of creativity. The second lecture examined how poetry has been used to prophetically promote peacemaking. The lectures wrapped up with a discussion on how students and staff can make an effort to utilize peacemaking strategies on Trinity’s campus and in the Deerfield community.
In addition to the recent publication of Making Manifest, Harrity has several accomplishments in the creative community. A professor at Campbellsville University in Kentucky, Harrity is also the founder of Antler, an organization that helps Christian communities use creativity as a discipline for spiritual formation. He has published one book of poetry, Morning and What Has Come Since, and has a second due out in 2014. His poetry has been published in several literary magazines and journals, including Relief: A Christian Literary Expression, which is run by TIU Associate Professor of English Dr. Brad Fruhauff.
Several local and global fair trade vendors will be visiting Trinity International University on December 5 as a part of TIU’s first ever Fair Trade Gift Market.
Open to the public, the Fair Trade Gift Market is an opportunity for TIU to partner with fair trade organizations—many of which are from the Chicagoland area—and help showcase and sell their products. Among the more than 15 vendors appearing at the market, World Vision, Ten Thousand Villages, and Global Handmade Hope will all be present.
The market also provides local consumers an opportunity to finish their holiday shopping while supporting organizations who pursue a fair global economy through their business. With a wide variety of available products including jewelry, clothing, coffee and decor, the Fair Trade Gift Market offers something for everyone on your holiday shopping list.
In addition to shopping at the market, attendees can visit workshops that discuss fair trade and its impact on the local and global economy.
Director of College Activities Heather Cordero is organizing the event along with Trinity’s Community Partnerships Cabinet. She hopes that the event increases awareness of the impact of conscious consumerism both in the community and on Trinity’s campus.
The Fair Trade Gift Market coincides with Trinity’s annual Santa Lucia Festival, which celebrates the school’s historical roots by participating in and promoting Christian service, both locally and internationally. Though the Fair Trade Gift Market is a new addition to the festivities, it falls within a long-standing tradition of providing Trinity students and staff with opportunities to serve in the community during the holiday season.
The Fair Trade Gift Market will be held in the Waybright Student Center on Thursday, December 5, from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Additional information can be found at tiu.edu/fairtrade. Any additional questions can be directed to Heather Cordero via email or by calling (847) 317-7071.
The second installment of The TEDS Lectures, which features Dr. D.A. Carson on the letter to the Hebrews in four lectures, is now available in its entirety.
Dr. Carson, who is Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and who is also widely known as the founder & president of The Gospel Coalition, gave these lectures in spring 2013 as part of his Acts, Pauline, & General Epistles canon course.
Dr. Carson’s lectures cover a wide variety of topics in the epistle to the Hebrews, including introductory matters such as authorship and date of writing, as well as more advanced topics in Christology, perseverance, and the New Testament use of the Old Testament. Hebrews’ High Priestly Christology is one of its unique contributions to New Testament theology, and its famous “warning passages” and mapping of Yom Kippur imagery onto Jesus’ death and resurrection have prompted much writing over the course of church history. Dr. Carson has co-authored (with G.K. Beale) a commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament, and Hebrews presents a number of interpretive challenges in this area. Dr. Carson emphasizes, however, that most central to this letter is the superiority and centrality of Jesus Christ.
The lectures are free to watch, and transcripts of all four lectures are also available. It is hoped that these lectures–as well as others currently available–can provide additional Christ-centered and biblically responsible resources to the global community of faith.
Watch these lectures on the TEDS Media & Resources page, and follow TEDS on twitter and facebook for updates on new media releases.
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School faculty and students have an active presence at the 65th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Baltimore, MD, on November 19-21, 2013.
Dr. D.A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, gives one of three plenary addresses at this year’s meeting, the theme of which is “Evangelicalism, Inerrancy, and ETS.” Dr. Carson’s talk is titled “An Evaluation of Some Recent Discussions on the Doctrine of Scripture.” Other highlights include a panel discussion about the forthcoming Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy (HarperCollins, Dec. 2013), to which Dr. Kevin Vanhoozer contributed a chapter, as well as papers by Drs. Dana Harris, Scott Manetsch, K. Lawson Younger, James Hoffmeier, Stephen Greggo, H. Wayne Johnson, Richard Averbeck, Doug Sweeney, Eric Tully, John Woodbridge, and Grant Osborne. Several PhD students are also presenting; download a full PDF of student and faculty ETS presentations, including times and locations.
It is fitting that Dr. Carson gives one of the plenary addresses at a meeting focused on inerrancy; as one of TEDS’ longtime faculty members, he has written extensively, often with Church History colleague John Woodbridge, about inerrancy and the authority of Scripture. TEDS has always been committed to biblical inerrancy while also acknowledging that there are different ways that united evangelicals might talk about the doctrine (as is evident from comparing and contrasting Dr. Vanhoozer’s and Dr. Carson’s work on inerrancy).
TEDS is also well-represented at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, which also takes place in Baltimore just after ETS and includes the American Academy of Religion and Institute for Biblical Research. The SBL 2013 list of presenters can be searched by faculty last name to find sessions, locations, and times.
To learn more about TEDS, watch one of the newly released TEDS Lectures, featuring D.A. Carson on Hebrews and Dana Harris on Luke-Acts.
Join us as author Dave Harrity explores the relationship between imagination and faith and its impact on our devotional lives.
There’s a sea change happening in the church—faith, creativity, imagination, and community are colliding in congregations large and small across the world. As artists of belief, we’re called to use our creativity to cultivate peace, reconciliation, and creative, radical, community-oriented change for the world that “God so loved.” Dave Harrity explores this collision, offers commentary, pragmatic advice, and cohesive vision to help Christian creatives weather the evolving storm.
Dave Harrity is author of Making Manifest: On Faith, Creativity, and the Kingdom at Hand, a book of meditations and exercises for personal and communal spiritual formation. He is also author of Morning and What Has Come Since: Poems, which was nominated for a Pushcart prize, Kentucky Literary Award, and the Conference on Christianity and Literature’s Book-of-the-Year citation. His poems have appeared widely in journals and magazine internationally and stateside. With a focus on teaching creative practices and writing, his workshops, classes, and lectures often explore the intersection of faith and imagination through poetry writing. From 2008–2009, he taught creative writing workshops at Asbury Seminary as part of the pastoral imagination series and has since taught similar classes across the country. He lives and writes in Louisville with his wife and children. Follow him on a Twitter and Instagram.
Creativity 101: Making
Tuesday, November 19, 3:30–5:00 p.m., MCL 211
Whether you often create or are just beginning to, you need to find a place to start the creative process. This workshop will use lyric poetry as a case study for developing a framework for creative production. We will look at a definition of the form, how it has changed over the course of English poetry, and how to write successful lyrics of our own. Participants will be encouraged to complete a writing exercise and to return the following night for Creativity 102: Revising. Underwritten by The Trilium.
Poetry, Peace, and Practice
Tuesday, November 19, 8:00–9:00 p.m., MCL 210
Christ’s life—by his example and his words—emphasizes the importance of peacemaking, reconciliation, and intentional compassion toward others. How can members of the Church reimagine practices of peace-making within their congregations and surrounding communities? What can daily writing, creative thinking, and poetry teach the Christian about peacemaking? This workshop examines the imagination as a vehicle of making peace and fostering compassionate living through poems, exercises, workshop, and discussion. Underwritten by the Christian Ministries Department.
Wednesday, November 20, 11:00–11:45 a.m., ATO Chapel
Class Visit: ENG 320 American Lit II, William Stafford
Wednesday, November 20, 1:15–2:05 p.m., MCL 216
Pastoral Imagination: Contemporary Prophets
Wednesday, November 20, 3:15–5:00 p.m., MCL 211
This workshop will examine how poetry is used as a tool of witness, whereby people in religious communities can foster healing through creative practice. This talk is aimed at students in the honors and leadership programs. Underwritten by The Honors Program.
Creativity 102: Revising
Wednesday, November 20, 9:30–11 p.m., MCL 211
This workshop focuses on methods of composition—creating, fostering creativity—and revision—techniques for bringing out the best in the poem. We examine how creatives can cultivate patterns to produce writing by looking at the methods of other authors, exercises, process-oriented composition, and step-by-step revision. This is a stand-alone workshop, but interested participants are encouraged to attend Creativity 101 on Tuesday night. Underwritten by The Fine Arts Festival.