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Karl, recently emailed me a link to this lecture on the first chapter of Genesis. The talk is titled “Why God Didn’t Call the Light ‘Light.'” Dr. John Walton, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College, spoke at Blackhawk Church back in 2005 about how important it is to be aware of the cultural setting of the Bible. In particular, he focused on how we should interpret the first chapter of Genesis functionally rather than ontologically. In other words, rather than thinking about what God made we should understand this chapter in reference to the functions God gave these various systems: time, weather, food cycle, etc. Not only will this teaching make you think, it will make you aware of your own cultural bias and learn how to read the Bible more effectively.

downoad mp3 | listen online

total time = 45:30 min (he starts speaking a little after 3 minutes)

One Response to “Reading Genesis within Its Cultural Context”

  1. on 21 Jan 2010 at 1:25 pmRon S.


    A very interesting presentation from Dr. Walton.

    I found the concept of Genesis 1 describing the creation of “functions” not “things” quite intriguing. I don’t know if I fully agree with his thesis, but I’m certainly willing to examine it and give it further thought.

    BTW, in looking up Dr. Walton I ran across a very similar presentation from almost 7 years back. But this one has visual aids in the form of PowerPoint slides and also includes a 10 minute Q&A session at the end of his lecture/presentation.

    You can view it at the following link (just click on his picture at the bottom to play it – Note: there are 3 other presenters included also, but I haven’t listened to their sessions as yet):



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