Historical inference

Glenn Morton (GRMorton@gnn.com)
Wed, 09 Oct 1996 06:22:53

Hi Bill,

Bill Frix wrote:

>There is a difference between the resurrection and the creation.
>The resurrection did have an eyewitness: Jesus. We have to assume
>He told the disciples what happened there during the 40 days He
>remained on earth after His resurrection. This is highly plausible:
>I know if I had been one of the earliest disciples and had seen Him
>die and be buried, my first, natural, question would be: What
>happened? So, regarding the resurrection, we do have an eyewitness
>of the most impeccable veracity. In addition, we have a number of
>eyewitnesses who saw the result of the resurrection, namely Jesus
>Himself. The factuality of the resurrection is based on eyewitness
>testimony, not experimental verification. This, ICR does not
I agree that there were eyewitnesses to those events. But the problem is that
today, in 1996, a person must use historical inference in order to decide that
the reports are trustworthy. There are no eye-witnesses alive today and
before one becomes a christian there is no communion with our Lord.

>Regarding the creation/evolution, there has been only one witness:
>God Himself (of course, the angels and demons saw, but they aren't
>talking). Other than atheists, no one disputes this. The questions
>are, first, did God inspire Moses (or, for those who have more faith
>in documentary hypothesis, the Q author) with the account written?
>If so, it must be true or else God is not God.

Agreed. But consider that in deciding the question of inspiration one looks
not only at the creation, but also at the other events in the Pentateuch. If
you find something like the flood account, which, when interpreted
globally,has very little evidence supporting it, one must then question the
concept of inspiration. There were eyewitnesses to the flood, so using
historical inference to judge the veracity of the document in areas that it
can be judged, is necessary.

But beyond the
>question of inspiration is the question of intent: did God (assuming
>divine inspiration) give a "scientific" explanation or a conceptual
>description, fitting for ancient inquiries? As for me, I know the
>Genesis account is true because of the character of God (and since
>Jesus, who should know better, attributed the authorship to Moses, I
>believe Him and accept Mosaic inspiration). The question of intent
>remains open, although I follow Wesley's position: if reason
>contradicts Scripture, through out reason.

I used to be a Wesleyan, but I have learned that there is one more step.
There is the Scripture, there is my interpretation of the Scripture, and there
is reason about the empirical world. I would phrase Wesley's edict

If reason contradicts my interpretation of Scripture, throw out the

IMO Christians too often confuse their interpretation of Scripture with God's
direct words. This is a subtle form of sin of making ourselves out to be God.

Foundation,Fall and Flood