Information on the Series: Phenomenology and the Positivist Intellect

In the Fall of 2021, the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly publishes three essays on phenomenology.  Each author asks, “Why does phenomenology exclude other philosophical traditions, such as Thomism, when they share similar concerns?”  The essays are not only remarkable for what they say, they are also remarkable for what they do not say.  None mention natural science.

Of course, this lacunae demands exploration.  Edmund Husserl (1856-1938 AD) lives in the heyday of modern science.  He calls for a “return to the noumenon”.  He names his method, “phenomenological reduction”.  So, phenomenology concerns the noumenon and its phenomena.

The series on empirio-schematics serves as a resource.  The noumenon and its phenomena appear in the Positivist’s judgment, initially derived in Comments on Jacques Maritain’s Book (1935) Natural Philosophy.

Contributions to this series are listed below, in order of production.  Most are available at smashwords and other electronic book vendors.  Those that appear on the blog at www.raziemah.com are noted, along with dates.

Reverie on Mark Spencer’s Essay (2021) “The Many Phenomenological Reductions”    (e-article, note on blog September 2021)

Comments on Joseph Trabbic’s Essay (2021) “Jean-Luc Marion and … First Philosophy”   (e-article, note on blog October 2021 

Comments on Richard Colledge’s Essay (2021) “Thomism and Contemporary Phenomenology”   (e-article, note on blog October 2021)

Comments on Jack Reynolds’ Book (2018) “Phenomenology, Naturalism and Science”.    (e-article, note on blog March 2022)

Looking at John Perez Vargas, Johan Nieto Bravo and Juan Santamaria Rodriguez’s Essay (2020) “Hermeneutics and Phenomenology in… Social Sciences Research”      (blog only, www.raziemah.com, April 2022)


Looking at Andrew Ter Ern Loke’s Book (2022) ” The Origin of Humanity and Evolution”   (Part 1 of 22)

0001 The book under examination is published by T&T Clark in New York, London and Dublin, carries an ISBN number: 978-0-5677-0635-5, and presents the full title of The Origin of Humanity and Evolution: Science and Scripture in Conversation.

This examination considers the book from the point of view of Razie Mah’s three masterworks, The Human Niche, An Archaeology of the Fall and How To Define The Word “Religion”, corresponding to the Lebenswelt that we evolved inthe first singularity and our current Lebenswelt, respectively.

Needless to say, in this volume, Andrew Ter Ern Loke is not aware of the scientific proposals offered by Razie Mah’s masterworks.  His goal is to formulate a point of view whereby the role of Adam and Eve in Augustine’s Christian tradition does not contradict the modern view of human evolution, which is surpassed by Razie Mah’s corrective.

The goal of this examination is to show that Loke intimates the proposed scientific corrective, even though he is unaware of its existence.

0002 According to the back cover, in 2022, Andrew Ter Ern Loke is an associate professor at Hong Kong Baptist University.  In the acknowledgements, the author thanks scientists, philosophers, a historian of science, biblical scholars and theologians for helpful discussions.  Among the list is William Lane Craig, whose recent book, The Historical Adam, is reviewed in November 2022 in Razie Mah’s blog.

Loke’s book is dedicated to a computational biologist, Joshua Swamidass, who proposes a technical solution that permits all humans to descend from one male, named “Adam”, and that one “Adam” corresponds to the one mentioned in Genesis 2.4 on.

0003 Technical solution?

There are two stories of human origins in the formerly Christian West, the Christian ones are found in Genesis and the modern Western ones concern the scientific disciplines of natural history, genetics and archaeology.  So the question arises, asking, “How do these match?”

They would match if “Adam” is the first human.  After all, the name, “adamah”, is ambiguous, referring to humankind, the male of the species, as well as one apparently ill-fated fellow once living on an island, in a special place called, “Eden”, near the confluence of four rivers, including the Tigris and Euphrates.

0004 Unfortunately, the scientific discipline of genetics rules out that option. Adam and Eve are not the first pair of humans.  Contemporary human population genetics shows no sharp bottleneck that would correspond to a single pair as the first humans (as proposed by Saint Augustine, over 1600 years ago, during the twilight of the Roman Empire).  This lack of correspondence opens the opportunity for other technical solutions, such as the genealogical approach by Joshua Swamidass and the approach formulated in Loke’s book.  Neither Swamidass nor Loke propose that Adam and Eve are the first humans.  Loke designates Adam as “God’s Image Bearer” and works from there.

0005 Here is a different way to look at the issue.

Imagine a map of the Nile, running up through Africa to the Mediterranean Sea.  Now, pick up a mental pencil and relabel parts of the great river.

0006 The first chapter of Genesis is the upper reaches of the southern Nile, with the great lake, named “Victoria” (to those who speak English).  Genesis 2.4-10 is like the lower reaches of the northern Nile, ending in the magnificent delta.  The Mediterranean is where history begins.

Imagine that there is a great waterfall between the upper and lower reaches, instead of a series of impassable rapids.  Upland from the waterfall is the time of De Nile.  Downland from the waterfall is the time of DeNial.  The waterfall is the first singularity.

A traveler, starting at the falls, can theoretically walk in both directions, along De Nile or along DeNial.  But, there is the challenge of the descent and the ascent.  Looking from the top of the falls, one cannot see the bottom.  Looking from the bottom of the falls, one cannot see the top.  However, at either location, the traveler knows that there must be a bottom and there must be a top.

Well, the traveler does not really know for certain.

The traveler only looks down from the top or up from the bottom and makes a guess about the other realm.

0006 As if to repeat the pattern, Loke’s book takes a turn near the middle of the text, in section five of chapter five, carrying the title, “The Image of God”.

Loke writes that Adam and Eve, labeled by God as “Image Bearers of God”, are the first human beings.  This does not require them to be the first anatomically modern humans or the genetic founders of all humans.  Rather, the key issue is how humans are defined.

0007 It is sort of like that imaginary waterfall.

If one stands upstream, which is highland and south, human beings are defined by the scientific scenario summarized in section 5.1.

If one stands downstream, which is lowland and north, various philosophers and religious traditions offer opinions as to what humans are.  Loke mentions Plato, Aristotle, Upanishadic Hinduism, Buddhism, Marxism, existentialism, sociobiology and contemporary philosophy.  Each has a unique definition of “the human”.

The waterfall is neither upstream nor downstream.  The waterfall is contiguous with both.

How does this division within continuity work?

0008 The Greimas square may assist.  The Greimas square is a purely relational structure that is useful for discerning a constellation of meanings that surround a particular spoken term.

A century ago, the linguist Ferdinand de Saussure proposed that spoken language consists in two arbitrarily related systems of differences, parole (French for “talk”) and langue (French for “language”).  One system is external.  Parolecan be scientifically observed and measured.  Langue is internal, only certain changes in physiological conditions can be observed and measured.

0009 So, the question arises, “How does one define any particular spoken phrase or word?”

That is the subject of Razie Mah’s masterwork, How To Define the Word “Religion”, available at smashwords and other e-book venues.

0010 Happily, for this examination, there is method that respects the purely relational configuration posed by Saussure.

That method is the Greimas square.

0011 Here is a picture.

Figure 01

0012 The focal term goes with A.

The first contrast of A that comes to mind enters B.

Then, a term that contradicts B goes into C.  The term, “contradicts”, may be transliterated into “speaks against”.  So, C speaks against B.  Then, one finds that C complements A.

Finally, a contrast that comes to mind with C goes into D.  Then, one should find that D speaks against A and complements B.

0013 The Greimas square is a probe of the terms that are adjacent to (or metaphorically “near”) a focal term (A).

0014 The following figure applies to Loke’s discussion of Adam and Eve as the first “Image Bearers of God”.

Figure 02

0015 We are the descendants of Adam (A), so we are heir to his title, “Image Bearer of God”.

But, there is a problem.  Adam falls.  So do we.

In contrast, many philosophies and traditions define who we are (B) without regard to God’s original appellation.

Speaking against the philosophers and traditionalists, Adam is the first holding the title (C), which will be passed on to the rest of humanity by means that are not genetic.  So, despite all other opinion, Adam is… er, at least… was… until, you know, the unfortunate incident… the first bearer of this title.  I suppose he never lost the title…

…he just made a bad decision that doomed all of subsequent humanity.

In contrast, the Biblical use of adam (technically, “adamah”) is a pun which means “earth man” or “humanity” (D).

This raises the question as to whether adam as humanity (D) contradicts (A) humans labeled as the Image Bearers of Godand complements (B) “humans” defined by philosophers and other religious traditions.

I suppose that one could argue for “yes”, as well as “no”.

0016 As it turns out, the metaphor of a map of the Nile River, altered by a number 2 pencil, also fits into a Greimas square.

Figure 03

Looking at Andrew Ter Ern Loke’s Book (2022) ” The Origin of Humanity and Evolution”   (Part 22 of 22)

0184 In chapter seven, Loke concludes.

The concept of Adam and Eve as the “Image Bearers of God” stands at the core of this book.

Figure 39

0185 As much as the author tries to capitalize on the idea that Adam and Eve receive a title, and that this title passes to all humanity through a genetic… oh, a not genetic mechanism, Loke does not arrive at his destination, the answer to the question of the Fall.

How is Original Sin passed from Adam to us?

Why is Jesus the New Adam?

0186 Before Traducianism is challenged by the science of genetics, these questions are easy to answer.

Afterwards, Traducianism itself becomes an example of langue, the mental processing that is arbitrarily related to parole, that is, speech-alone talk

0187 Yet, there is hope.  The first singularity coincides with the fall of Adam and Eve.  What is old is made new again.

Figure 40

0188 Future inquiry will extend beyond the book-ends of total depravity and the loss of original justice, into the natures of true versus false and honest versus deceptive.

0189 Who are we?

The behavior of humans in our current Lebenswelt is so different from the behavior of humans in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, that we might as well label ourselves a different species.

0190 Here is my suggestion.

We should call all humans living in the Lebenswelt that we evolved in, Homo sapiens.

We should call all humans living in our current Lebenswelt, Homo boobiens.

0191 Only Homo boobiens can acquire specialized knowledge so exclusive that it makes them unbelievably stupid.  In our world of unconstrained complexity, high intelligence empowers profound Dummheit.  Just ask the experts.  They will tell you that their recipes for disaster are utterly sensible and moral.

0192 Perhaps, in future academic controversies, the coincidence of the fall of Adam and Eve and the hypothesis of the first singularity will inspire evolutionary scientists to compete with Christian theologians in accounting for the Pascal sacrifice.

The Christian theologian says, “Christ dies for our sins.”

The scientist replies, “No, Christ dies for our stupidity.”

Sin results in death.  So does stupidity.

Plus, we are never so stupid as when we play word games in order to lie to ourselves.

0193 The attraction of Loke’s theoretical framework, that Adam and Eve are the first to receive the God-given honorific, “Image Bearer of God”, is that the title is immediately spoiled in the Genesis 2.4-4 narrative, where Adam and Eve demonstrate that, while they are certainly created in the image of God, they cannot live up to the title.  None of us can.

0194 There is good reason.  Our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  So, we cannot even live up to who we evolved to be.  We are tempted to believe that our own spoken words picture or point to their referents, when they are really placeholders in systems of differences (at least, according to Ferdinand de Saussure, the founder of modern language studies).  We can place a label on anything, then use those labels to manufacture a coherent network of relational elements that seems totally convincing, because every element of the relational structure is occupied by a label.

0195 Inadvertently, the author reveals this in his defense of Traducianism.

In his innocence and earnestness, Loke demonstrates how we may use spoken words to confuse ourselves.  Can we label the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “intelligence” and “stupidity”?  The moment that we do, some customers will demand the “intelligent” fruits and leave the “stupid” fruits for the less choosy.

Are the picky customers ahead of the game?  

Or, are the less choosy correct in concluding that the fruits are all the same?

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

0196 With that said, I conclude my examination of this work, full of intelligence and stupidity, just as one expects from a descendant of Adam and Eve.  My thanks go to the author.  The arguments offered in this book tell me that we stand on the verge of a new age of understanding, where everything old is made new again.


Looking at Andrew Kulikovsky’s Overview (2005) “The Bible and Hermeneutics” (Part 1 of 10)

0001 The overview under consideration appears in 2005 in the Journal of Creation (volume 19(3), pages 14-20).

The article is attractive because it considers affirmations and denials that appear in The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, published in 1978 in J. Evangelical Theological Society (volume 21(4), pages 289-296). 

0002 The author of the article, Andrew S. Kulikovsky, earned a Bachelors of Applied Science (in Computer and Information Science) from the University of South Australia, then a Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies and Theology from Louisiana Baptist University.  His Master’s thesis was on biblical theology of creation.  At the time that his overview was published, he worked for his law degree at Deakin University, Melbourne Australia.

Single quotes and italics are used to group words together.

0003 Kulikovsky starts his brief overview, titled “The Bible and hermeneutics”, with the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.

0004 But, before entering that first section, I must wonder, “What is ‘hermeneutics’?”

In dictionaries, the term signifies the formal process by which an interpreter derives the author’s intended meaning.

0005 In terms of the category-based nested form, there are two actualities in hermeneutics.  One actuality virtually situates the other.

The text itself2a emerges from (and situates) the potential of the author’s intended meaning1a in the normal context of writing3a.  An interpretation2b virtually situates that text.

An interpretation2b emerges from and situates the potential of the text and a hermeneutical process1b in the normal context of proper reading3b.

0006 The following relational structure is called a two-level interscope.  Two-level interscopes are typical for sensible construction, according to A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction.

Figure 01

0007 The text2a in question is the Bible, particularly Genesis 1-2.3, the Creation Story, and Genesis 2.4-11, the Primeval History.

0008 I now move to the section on biblical inerrancy.

Kulikovsky recounts articles nine and twelve of the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy.  The following table does not report the complete affirmations and denials.  These are in the overview.  However, I hope they are close enough.

Here is a table.

Figure 02

0009 Even though these statements mention the contrast between hermeneutics and scientific narrative, the focus is on the contrast between true and false (Article XII) and honesty and deception (Article IX).  

The Evangelical Theological Society affirms that Genesis is true.  Plus, Genesis is not deceptive.

The denials reject what others may affirm.  One aspect of the denial in Article XII is particularly worthy of repetition.  No scientific hypothesis about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.

In order to frame the denial in the most nuanced manner possible, I say, “If the content of a denial is affirmed, then that affirmation may negate the original affirmation.  For this reason, the denial is really an affirmation that must be rejected, because it can be carried too far.”

0010 Of course, the affirmations and the denials of the Evangelical Theological Society proclaim that Biblical exegesis comes first, and stands before, purported scientific challenges.  But, their very structure calls to mind a semiotic construction called the “Greimas Square”, which I won’t further capitalize, unless in a title.  The greimas square is the topic of the next blog.


Looking at Andrew Kulikovsky’s Overview (2005) “The Bible and Hermeneutics” (Part 2 of 10)

0011 The greimas square concerns four bound elements (A1, A2, B1 and B2) and consists of four sets of statements (C, D, E and F).

Here is a picture.

Figure 03

0012 (C) A1 is the spoken word, element, phrase or topic under consideration.

(D) B1 contrasts with A1.

(E) A2 stands against, or “contradicts”, B1.  A2 complements A1.

(F) B2 contrasts with A2.  B2 stands against A1.  B2 complements B1.

0013 The technical term, “contrast”, means, “is different than”, in the same way that a denial is different from an affirmation.

The technical term, “stands against” or “contradicts”, means “is distinct from”, in the same way that true (or correct) is distinct from true (or honest).

0014 If I turn the denials into affirmations that must be denied because they can be carried too far, then Articles IX and XII fit into a greimas square in the following manner.

Figure 04

Surely, B1 and B2 carry their affirmations too far, since they do not give priority to the inspired word of God.

In the following discussion, B1 and B2 will be modified into affirmations that do not go so far as to reject their corresponding affirmations, A1 and A2.

0015 I begin the first statement, C.

(C) The focal word is “inspiration” (A1).  Inspiration is not omniscience.  Inspiration confers truthfulness.

(D) Distortion and falsehood (B1) contrasts with inspiration.  This speaks of false, as opposed to true.  Somehow, the inspired word of God may be incorrect because the authors are fallen, just like the rest of us.  So, even though they may think that they are describing real events, they are not.

Or, maybe the biblical authors have not risen to our modern standards.  Scientism-ists would say that these authors have an ancient, incorrect, magical, not scientific, phenomena-based worldview.  So, of course, if there is an inspired message, then it is locked in the distortion and falsehood of the worldviews of the ancient Near East.

(E) No, Genesis 1-11 is not deceptive (A2).  “Not deceptive” stands against false (B1); in the same way that deceit contradicts incorrect.  Honesty (A2) complements inspiration (A1).  An inspired author is an honest one.

(F) Well, perhaps the honesty extends only to religious themes.  That is to say, the inspired message is hidden in the smoke and mirrors of the worldviews of the ancient Near East (B2).  In short, the inspired authors cannot be honest (A2) because the cultures of the ancient Near East are filled with evil and idolatry and deception.  Consequently, the stories of Noah’s flood are as true as the flood narrative in the Epic of Gilgamesh.  But, Utnapishtim’s flood is a clearly a fictional… er… deceptive account (B2 contradicts A1).  Such fiction (B2) complements the incorrectness of the science of the ancient Near East (B1). 

0016 In sum, the greimas square offers a relational structure that re-articulates the focal concept of Articles IX and XII, the divine inspiration of Genesis 1-11.  The affirmations become more focused.  The denials become more nuanced.  Fallenness (B1) becomes entangled with the world of the ancient Near East (B1a).  Plus, history and science, as moderns (B2) know them, do not exist in this world (B2a).  Rather, the worldviews of the ancient Near East are fictions, about things that may be true, but we cannot know about such truth, because all we know is what the texts say.


Looking at Andrew Kulikovsky’s Overview (2005) “The Bible and Hermeneutics” (Part 3 of 10)

0017 The prior blog allows me to present a modified greimas square of articles nine and twelve, for the hermeneutics of biblical inerrancy.

Figure 05

This modification contains contrasts (B1a and B2a) that do not reject their respective affirmations (A1 and A2).

0018 So, what does modern science accomplish?

Modern science tells us that the worldviews of the ancient Near East are deceptive (B2a) and incorrect (B1a).

For example, one Sumerian origin myth goes like this.

In the beginning, the god of the waters above co-mingles with the god of the waters below.  Later, the latter gives birth to the air god, who then separates the two parents.  Similarly, the dome above the air is solid, just like the dome under our feet.  Clearly, these statements are not scientific.  The first is pure fiction (B2a).  The second is incorrect (B1a).

Questions arise.

Is there a scientific hypothesis explaining why the origin stories of the ancient Near East are inherently flawed (hence, incorrect) (B1a)?

Is there a scientific hypothesis explaining why the origin myths of the ancient Near East veil what may be real historical events (hence, deceptive) (B2a)?

Here is another modified greimas square of articles nine and twelve, for the hermeneutics of biblical inerrancy.

Figure 06

This is what science accomplishes, as of 2005 AD.

0019 What does modern science not accomplish?

Modern science has no explanation for why particular mythological (B2a) and mechanical (B1a) constructions might have occupied the civilizations of the ancient Near East.

0020 Are scientists missing an important clue, such as what all the origin stories of the ancient Near East actually say?

The origin myths of the ancient Near East portray a recent creation of humans by a differentiated (not primordial) divinity (or divinities) (B2a).  

Also, as noted in the e-work, Comments on David Melvin’s Essay (2010) “Divine Mediation and the Rise of Civilization”the origin myths of the ancient Near East depict the potentiation of civilization through gifts from the gods (B1a).

0021 All this changes starting in 2012.

A new scientific hypothesis is proposed, accounting for why our current Lebenswelt is not the same as the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

The proposal is stated plainly The First Singularity and Its Fairy Tale Trace and dramatized in An Archaeology of the Fall, by Razie Mah, and available at smashwords and other e-book vendors.

0022 The hypothesis of the first singularity does not reject the affirmations (A1 and A2) of the Evangelical Theological Society.  Plus, the hypothesis addresses questions that modern science cannot (before 2012) wrestle with.

The first singularity explains why the myths of ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia can do not envision their own ancestry, deep in evolutionary time.  

The first singularity explains why the innovations of civilization seem to just appear out of nowhere, like gifts from gods.


Looking at Andrew Kulikovsky’s Overview (2005) “The Bible and Hermeneutics” (Part 4 of 10)

0023 Kulikovsky’s section on biblical inerrancy opens questions of epistemology. Epistemology concerns Scripture and the problem of interpretation.  Epistemology is the logos (word) of episteme (knowledge).

I have already encountered two contrasts.  The first is truth versus falsehood, or correct versus incorrect.  The second is truth versus deception, or honest versus deceptive.

0024 How does the talking serpent in Genesis 2:4-4 fit into this picture?

Science can prove that serpents do not speak, except, of course, for some of my old bosses and co-workers, if you catch my drift.  This proof goes into B1b.

Also, the appearance of the talking serpent in the stories of Adam and Eve must be figurative, not real.  But, the text depicts a real character.  So, the talking serpent is a fiction… er… deception.  This conjecture goes into B2b.

Figure 07

0025 What happens when I consider the hypothesis of the first singularity?

Well, the Genesis serpent ends up crawling on its belly.  This means that it does not have hands or feet. 

Also, the mythical talking serpent in Genesis misleads the naive Eve.

It does so using speech-alone talk.

0026 As it turns out, the hypothesis of the first singularity proposes that civilization is potentiated by a change in the way that humans talk, from hand-speech talk (two fully fledged ways of talking in a single language) to speech-alone talk (where hand-speech talk loses the hand component).  The semiotic qualities of hand-speech and speech-alone talk are radically different.  The change in semiotic qualities explains the potentiation of unconstrained social complexity.

Plus, the first culture to practice speech-alone talk is the Ubaid of southern Mesopotamia.

0027 Oh, suddenly, the story of the temptation of Eve makes more sense.

If the serpent has no hands, then it cannot practice hand-speech talk.  Instead, the way the serpent talks makes it an exemplar of speech-alone talk (B1b).

This implies that the talking serpent is both figurative and real.

Plus, the talking serpent implies that speech-alone talk associates to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  After all, that tree is the creature’s hangout. 

0028 What else?

Presumably, hand-speech talk, which starts with the first anatomically modern humans over 200,000 years ago, associates to the tree of life.

0029 Yes, the semiotic differences between hand-speech talk and speech-alone talk are substantial.  They are so great that the speech-alone talking serpent does not represent the traditions of hand-speech talk, characteristic of the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.  Instead, the serpent draws Eve into the world that God commanded her not to enterthe world-building milieu of speech-alone talk

Oh, speech-alone talk is the defining character of our current Lebenswelt.

0030 Here is a picture of the greimas square.

Figure 08

Consider the sequence of blogs for January 2022, at www.raziemah.com, titled, Looking at Mark Smith’s Book (2019) “The Genesis of Good and Evil”.


Looking at Andrew Kulikovsky’s Overview (2005) “The Bible and Hermeneutics” (Part 5 of 10)

0031 From the last few blogs, I show that the propositions that the Evangelical Theological Society affirm and deny, in 1978, may be placed into a greimas square.

Initially, this greimas square allows me to see that modern evolutionary science, before 2005, denies the Society’s affirmations and affirms its denials.  So, either the Evangelical Theological Society or evolutionary theorists are correct.

Before 2005, the greimas square, even with modifications, represents a standoff.  The relational structure cannot hold, unless modern evolutionary science comes up with a new discovery, such as the hypothesis of the first singularity.

0032 With the hypothesis of the first singularity, the science-oriented stances that Christian theologians once denied for good reason (B1 and B2), may be now rendered as contrasts to affirmed theological propositions (A1 and A2).

Such a change marks a new age of understanding, hence the title in the following diagram.

0033 Here is a picture of the sensible construction of biblical Genesis 1-11.

Figure 09

0034 Allow me to compare this to the original diagram.

The content-level normal context changes from writing3a, which implies that there are authors, to composing3a, which implies that there are people who are reciting the stories of witnesses2a, reporting on real events1a as best they can.  Scribes eventually record these recitals2a.  These texts are then assembled… or… “redacted” into the canonical text.

Thus, as affirmed by Articles IX and XII of The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, the biblical text is correct and honest2b.

0035 Certainly, there are intended messages1a, but these are locked within the realness of the biblical witness1a.  The history that Genesis 2:4-11 portrays shows a world rife with falsehood and deception, both of which are associated with “world building”.  The intended message of the witnesses1a concerns what is going on during the Ubaid, the Uruk and the Sumerian Dynastic archaeological periods of southern Mesopotamia.

0036 The situation-level normal context remains the same, but now reading3b is more evocative, because a scientific notion is now entangled with the biblical text. 

The hypothesis of the first singularity does not deny what the Evangelical Theological Society affirms1b.  Yet, the hypothesis contrasts with their affirmations.

0037 Now, the truth and honesty that is presumed by theological interpretation2b, plays out against the backdrop of the “world building” in the Ubaid, Uruk and Sumerian archaeological periods of southern Mesopotamia1b.  The reader can envision Genesis 2:4-11 as an insider’s view of the emergence of civilization in the milieu of the first culture practicing speech-alone talk.


Looking at Andrew Kulikovsky’s Overview (2005) “The Bible and Hermeneutics” (Part 6 of 10)

0038 So, what happens to the scientific acolyte, who fashions the talking serpent in Genesis 2:4-4 as scientifically false, even though the serpent talks in precisely the same manner as someone who fashions himself a scientific skeptic?

There is more than one way to deny the Evangelical Theological Society’s affirmations in Articles IX and XII.

0039 Kulikovsky elaborates in the section titled, “The influence of postmodernism.”

Yes, “postmodernism” is a bell, clanging for modernists to flee the conflagration of their so-called “scientific” world building and run into new paradigms of falsehood and deception.  Perhaps, we are entering a new age, The Age of Triadic Relations, where paradigms built on the manipulation and elevation of spoken words are revealed to be… well… as old as Adam and Eve.

0040 Kulikovsky starts with Soren Kierkegaard (7613-7655 U0′), who gets the bell tolling with the claim that true knowledge is completely subjective.  Later, postmodern existentialism elevates the claim to a limiting condition, where it is not possible to express absolute truth in propositional form.

Of course, this limiting condition violates the terms of um… itself.

0041 Never mind that. 

What postmodern existentialists propose is that it is not possible to express absolute truth in propositional form (B1), in um… speech-alone talk, so the Bible cannot be the inspired word of God (denial of A1).


Interpretations based on biblical inerrancy presume that absolute truth may be expressed in propositional form.  Therefore, traditional interpreters of the Bible are deceiving themselves (B2 is denial of A2).

0042 So, if the intention of the biblical authors is to express absolute truth, then their propositions may asymptotically approach, but never attain, the theoretical limit.

That suggests that the greimas square of hermeneutics, as modified by the hypothesis of the first singularity, cannot reach the theoretical limit set by postmodern existentialists.

0043 To me, this sounds a lot like that divine command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

I ask, “What is wrong with that tree?”

Isn’t knowledge a good thing?

0044 Well, what about the knowledge of the proposition that no spoken proposition can express absolute truth?

Can this proposition express absolute truth?

Of course, by self-acclamation, it cannot.

0045 What does it express?

Perhaps, the proposition expresses the manipulation of spoken language in order to gain some sort of advantage.

0046 Ah, the hypothesis of the first singularity produces a scientific contrast (B1b) that suggests that the postmodern existentialist proposition can be made, but…

Figure 10

Looking at Andrew Kulikovsky’s Overview (2005) “The Bible and Hermeneutics” (Part 7 of 10)

0047 Kulikovsky next turns to historical-grammatical exegesis as the proper method for reading the biblical text.  Historical-grammatical exegesis takes into account the historical context and literary form.  Articles XIV and XX of the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy concerns this type of exegesis.

0048 Article XIV affirms the historical realism of Scripture.  The biblical record of events, discourses and sayings, as they are presented in a variety of appropriate literary forms, corresponds to historical fact (that is, reality).

It denies that such events, discourses and sayings were invented by the biblical writers (or by the traditions that they incorporated into the biblical text).

0049 Article XX affirms the biblical truth, as opposed to history, science and natural history.  The Bible speaks truth when it touches matters pertaining to nature, history and other topics.  God is the author of all truths, biblical and extrabiblical.  Sometimes extrabiblical views may contribute to clarifying interpretation of Scripture.

It denies that extrabiblical views and materials disprove the teachings of Scripture and hold priority over it.

0050 Here is a picture.

Figure 11

0051 I wonder, “Do these constitute another greimas square?”

0052 The key (A1) is the affirmation of the historical reality of the biblical record.  Because of this, the literary traditions of historic times must be taken into consideration.  For example, if Noah’s flood story and Utnapishtim’s flood story expressed radically different literary motifs, then one could say that one derived from the other or that the two stories pertain to different historical events.  But, this is not the case.  Both stories share similar literary motifs of the ancient Near East.

0053 B1 contrasts with A1.  B1 is the theologically unacceptable claim that the traditions incorporated in the Old Testament, as well as other mythic stories of the ancient Near East, invented certain events, discourses and sayings.  Therefore, they do not correspond to historical reality.

0054 The contrast between A1 and B1 offers an interesting paradox.

The literary motifs of Genesis 1-11 are the same as literary motifs of the ancient Near East.  Since these literary motifs are historical, there is strong reason to suggest that they pertain to the same historic events.

At the same time, the phantasmagorical quality of the origin stories of the ancient Near East suggests that narrative elements are invented.  They are invented, but not from whole cloth.  The fact that two fairly independent literary traditions portray similar events is good reason to say that they are not complete fictions.

So, the inventiveness characteristic of the literary traditions of the ancient Near East enrich this contrast, B1, and reveal that the Evangelical Theological Society is really against the implication that ancient inventiveness means “not true”.  The origin stories of the ancient Near East are not total fabrications.  They are memorials of things that took place in the past.

0055 A2 is the contradiction of B1 and the complement of A1.  A2 is the theological affirmation that the biblical witness of nature, history and behavior is true and honest.

0056 B2 is the contrast to A2, the contradiction to A1 and the complement of B1.  The Evangelical Theological Society denies that extrabiblical material can disprove the Scriptures, or even, has priority over Scripture.  Yet, they couch that denial with the caveat that extrabiblical material cannot be fully ignored.  After all, the preferred style of exegesis is called, “historical and literary”.

0057 So, after the denials are modified into affirmations that are vulnerable to denial, because they may be carried too far, Articles XIV and XX yield a greimas square.

Figure 12