RE: Kline article in PSCF (D. Kidner on Adam)

Terry M. Gray (
Thu, 4 Apr 1996 10:46:48 -0400


I am sympathetic with you and do think that there is a unity to knowledge:
God is the author of both special revelation and general revelation. Thus
you mis-read me when you think that I am saying that there are two
contradictory accounts talking about the same thing but saying the opposite
about each.

Here is a key question for you. What is the basis for Biblical authority?
Is it agreement with scientific accounts of origins? I don't think so.
The Bible derives its authority from other bases and thus gives us
confidence that what it is saying is true. Yes, I admit that I sound alot
like YEC's here. But then so do all evangelicals who accept inerrancy.
Unlike YEC's I want to take the creation seriously as well. I have
confidence (derived from scripture) that what the world is telling me is
not illusion.

Finally, I must say that not all events can be connected neatly with the
fossil and anthropological record. Let's suppose that the Kidner's
proposal is true and that at some point in time God gave man a truly human
soul and constituted him to be the divine image (we could allow Clouser's
view here for this point). What physical, biological, and anthropological
evidence do you expect to see? I'm not sure there is any necessary. So I
don't see what is so strained about this view. Even Niles Eldredge while
here at Calvin admitted that at this key juncture in human evolutionary
history that a theistic evolutionist might want to see a special
intervention that produces distinctly human traits. In his book *Dominion*
(you should read it Glenn; it's a nice summary of the human evolution field
from a punctuated equilibriumist perspective) Eldredge uses the word
"sudden appearance". He writes:

"But there is something else about human existence between 30,000 and
10,000 years ago that is exciting, important, and at the same time
tantalizingly hard to understand. It is the sudden appearance of--for want
of a better term--human sensibilities." (pp. 87-88)

J. Gresham Machen, in a very interesting article (cited BTW in my trial
defence), posed the same question about the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Of course, Jesus was fully human. Machen claims that judging by
scientific standards, physical, biological, anthropological, that there
would be no reason from the scientific record to suggest that he was
anything other than a man. He even says

"But I really do not think that there is much doubt but that, if His body
as it was when He lived on earth were still somewhere upon earth--which, as
a matter of fact, it is not- and if some archaeologist or geologist should
discover remains of it in the rocks or in the soil, those remains would
show the most thoroughgoing similarity to the bodily structure of previous

Kidner is not saying that there are two realms of reality (although in fact
there are--this is one of the main points of Kline's article that we're
supposedly discussing here). He is saying that there are two ways of
viewing the same reality--what in most discussions is called a
complementarist view. As you likely are, I'm nervous about a rigid
complementarism that essential defines all the problems away, but I think
that there is significant truth to the viewpoint. As Kidner says

"To have God's own presentation of human beginning as they most
deeply concern us, we need look no further than these chapters and their
New Testament interpretation."

This is simply saying that for the knowledge of these matters that God
wants us to know and that we need to know for our salvation, that the
technical scientific facts, while not untrue and not irreconcilable in some
way with the Biblical account, are laregly irrelevant. It's only we to
whom God has given an interest that need to worry so much about these
things. Of course, as unbelievers try to use this information to derail
the faith of us all, then they become common interests.


Terry M. Gray, Ph.D. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Calvin College 3201 Burton SE Grand Rapids, MI 40546
Office: (616) 957-7187 FAX: (616) 957-6501