Re: Abraham

Paul Arveson (
Thu, 11 Apr 96 13:58:38 EDT

In message <> Bill Hamilton writes:

> Francis Schaeffer rejected the blind leap approach to faith, but tried to
> formulate the problem of trusting God in a way that showed both the role of
> faith and the role of reason. One of his examples went something like
> this:
> Suppose I'm walking in the Alps and the fog closes in so I can't see where
> I'm going. I fall and find myself hanging from a tree root in a sheer
> cliff. I call for help and a voice answers me from the fog, "If you will
> release the root, you will drop a couple feet to a ledge you can walk on."
> How do I decide whether to follow this advice? In my neighborhood, I would
> begin by asking the caller his name. If I recognize his name as that of a
> family which lives close by and is likely to know this cliff face, I am
> more likely to follow his advice.
Thank you for reminding me of this story of Francis Schaeffer's. He
influenced me greatly, and opened my eyes to the support that theology and
philosophy can give to us. I will be giving a talk at the ASA meeting in August
on some concepts that he inspired.

But you will recall that in his later years Schaeffer returned to the US, and
he apparently joined hands completely with the YEC school, and taught that
perhaps trees were created with rings already in them. I believe that he came
to the conclusion that YEC was the only option as the result of a rational
process from some prior beliefs. One of those was the insistence on the literal
historicity of the whole of Genesis, which he wrote a book about (Genesis in
Space and Time). Although we know that Warfield and others of the Princeton
school did not hold to a modern YEC view, Schaeffer accepted that view. Perhaps
Morris has written something about this; I don't know.

At any rate, my feeling is that there is a "slippery slope" in the historicity
question that, once followed, will inexorably lead to acceptance of YEC and the
rejection of practically everything that modern science has discovered, all in
the name of saving the Bible from ridicule. The problem is, of course, that it
ends by creating even more ridicule.

So how exactly did Schaeffer embark on this path?

Paul Arveson, Research Physicist
(301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 227-1914 (FAX) (301) 816-9459 (H)
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