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

Glenn Morton (
Sat, 06 Apr 1996 11:10:58

Allan Harvey writes:

>Glenn Morton writes:
>>Davis Young writes:
>>"2. The failure of literalism and concordism suggests
>>tht the Bible may not be expected to provide precise
>>'information' or 'data' about the physical structure and
>>history of the planet or cosmos."
>>Davis A. Young, Scripture in the Hands of Geologists,
>>Part Two," Westminster Theological Journal, 49, 1987,p.
>>This does not sound to me like the Bible is meant to be
>>taken as part of the single reality I live in. Early
>>Genesis, according to Young, does not describe the
>>history of this cosmos in which I find myself. So of what
>>value is the early part of Genesis?
>Without putting myself in Davis Young's mind, I don't
>think Glenn's interpretation of the quoted paragraph is
>quite fair. Young is not saying early Genesis does not
>describe the history of the cosmos. He is just saying that
>it does not describe it with scientific detail and
>precision. Which is a far cry from saying that it is
>unreliable as a source of truth or contrary to science.
>As others have said, there is one truth, but different
>(not contradictory, but complimentary) angles of looking
> at that truth. If a child asks me how he came to be, I
>could answer "God made you." and quote
>the part of Psalm 139 about God knitting us in our
> mother's womb. Or I could talk about egg and sperm and
>DNA and embryonic biology. Both angles
>have their place, and neither one is false. Sometimes I
> feel like those who try so hard to make Genesis adopt the
>scientific angle would look at the
>"knitting" metaphor in Psalm 139 and try to find what
> aspect of embryology corresponded to a cross-stitch.
>A blessed Easter to everyone ...

I would not want to be viewed as mis-interpreting Young's
statements. And I know that Young has said that he does
not hold to a non-historical Genesis. But it is difficult
not to come to that conclusion when one reads the other
statements in that article.

Young write:
"I suggest that we will be on the right track if we
stop treating Genesis 1 and the flood story as scientific
and historical reports. We can forever avoid falling into
the perpetual conflicts between Genesis and geology if we
follow those evangelical scholars who stress that Genesis
is divinely inspired ancient near eastern literature
written within a specific historical context that entailed
well-defined thought patterns, literary forms, symbols and
images."~Davis A. Young, Scripture in the Hands of
Geologists, Part Two," Westminster Theological Journal, 49,
1987, p. 303

If the report is not a historical report then it is a
non-historical report.

Young writes:
"The fundamental - and understandable - assumption
(one that I made previously) behind the search for 'data'
or 'information' by both literalists and concordists
through the centuries is that Moses wrote strictly as a
'sacred historian.' Thus the creation and flood stories
(as well as related wisdom literature texts) have
been read as if they were reports providing detailed
information with quasi-photographic, journalistic accuracy
and precision. And it has been assumed that these events
can potentially be recognized, identified, and
reconstructed from the effects they left behind by using
the tools of geological, cosmological, biological, and
anthropological investigations. Such historical
reconstruction has been thought to be essentially no
different from efforts to reconstruct the historical events
of the Roman Empire or Hitler's Third Reich from extant
documents and monuments. The failure of literalism and
concordism suggests that we may have been mistaken in such
attempts."~Davis A. Young, Scripture in the Hands
of Geologists, Part Two," Westminster Theological Journal,
49, 1987, p. 294

In this quote Young says that the events can not be
recognized and identified. If you can't recognize and
identify a historical event, then there is always a
question as to whether or not it occurred. If I say that
the Romans invented television in 220 B.C. you would ask
for evidence to that effect. A drawing of a TV on a
Pompeian wall, a TV set from a Pompeiian home, written
reports in Tacitus and Plutarch. Lacking these you would
say that since I can not identify and recognize the
"effects they left behind by the tools of " scientific
investigation, they didn't happen.

Another one. Speaking of concordism and literalism, he

"It is doubtful that, after centuries of failure,
either strategy is going to be effective in the future. I
suggest that evangelicals give up the attempt to identify
the role of the great deep in terrestrial history, to work
out a geophysics of the flood, to settle disputes between
theistic evolutionists and progressive creationists about
the origin and development of life from studies of the word
'kind' or from the arrangement of differing life-forms
on days three, five, and six, or to work out the sequence
of geological events from biblical data. If evangelicals
are to achieve an appropriate understanding of the
relationship between biblical texts and scientific
activity, then literalism and concordism should be
abandoned and new approaches developed."~Davis
A. Young, Scripture in the Hands of Geologists, Part Two,"
Westminster Theological Journal, 49, 1987, p. 293

Caesars Gallic Wars, concords with what we know of the
ancient world. Because of this agreement, we beleive that
it is a true account of the campaign. An event which can
not be identified, or the science worked out, is an event
which NEVER happened.

In the early 80's a suggestion was made that an asteroid
struck the earth 65 million years ago. Scientists were
able to find the crater, find the tsunami deposits etc and
now science and that theory concord. We beleive it
actually happened. Young is not saying that the account
lacks detail, Young is saying that the account can not be
made to concord with actual history.

Another one.

"I suggest that we will be well served if commentators
recognize that concordism has not solved our problem of
relating Genesis and geology any more than literalism.
Commentators should not try to show correlations between
Genesis 1 and geology and should perhaps develop exegeses
that are consistent with the historical-cultural-
theological setting of ancient Israel in which Genesis was
written."~Davis A. Young, Scripture in the Hands of
Geologists, Part Two," Westminster Theological Journal, 49,
1987, p. 291

If the data had not correlated with the existence of
neutrons, we would not believe in neutrons. If the science
does not match the view of a flood, then we can not
conclude that it was a historical event.

But if a concordist like me is to advocate concordism, then
it is incumbent upon him to provide an explanation which
actually concords. Young writes:

"In these recent efforts, the flood received scant
attention; the focus has been on the interpretation of
Genesis 1. My Creation and the Flood was the only one of
these works to deal with the flood. Only the final chapter
was devoted to the flood, and the intent of that chapter
was to criticize the global diluvialism of scientific
creationism rather than to make positive proposals. The
only widely publicized contemprary flood theories available
to evangelicals are those of scientific creationism. Small
wonder that on the issue of the flood evangelicals are so
attracted to that voice; it is virtually the only one
speaking among us!"~Davis A. Young, Scripture in the Hands
of Geologists, Part Two," Westminster Theological Journal,
49, 1987, p. 288.

The model for the flood I presented was not criticized on
Talk Origins which is probably the most hostile place I
could have posted it! In fact I got some rather kind
comments from some of the people who are normally very
hostile to anything like what I am attempting. I am trying
to give Christianity another voice on the issues of the
flood to counter the geological druck that ICR is

Foundation,Fall and Flood