Re: NTSE Report #1 (fwd)

Murphy (
Wed, 26 Feb 1997 08:29:31 -0500

Glenn Morton wrote:
> At 07:39 AM 2/25/97 -0500, Murphy wrote:
> > More is needed than just a bare statement that "evolution
> >happened". There needs to be some adequate theological framework in
> >which to set evolutionary theory. That means, among other things,
> >getting beyond naive ways of reading Genesis.

> I fully agree with you that evolution HAPPENED, period. But when you say
> that we need to get "beyond naive ways of reading Genesis," huge red flags
> are going up, not only in my mind, but in a huge segment of the laity. When
> the word, "naive" is used, it comes across as elitist and superior.
> I will fully grant that you know much more about theology, among other
> things, than I. But I spent few years in college and I learned the
> difference between true history and false history.

1) I do not suggest that we start by saying to people in so
many words that their views of Genesis are "naive".
2) Scripture is true & authoritative, with Genesis as part of
it. Gen.1-3 is TRUE. Now the question is, "What kind of accounts do we
have here?" Are these chronicle-like accounts of historical events,
liturgy, theological documents, "saga" (Barth's term), or what? If they
are _not_ chronicle-like accounts of historical events, they are _not_
thereby "false history". The account of the Davidic monarchy in
Chronicles differs in significant ways from the reasonably down to earth
account in Kings, which is close to "history as it really happened".
But Chronicles is _not_ "false history".
I've mentioned this before. When discussing Gen.1 & 2 or the
gospel accounts in church classes, I give people a sheet with 2 accounts
of Lincoln's death. One is from a good Lincoln bio (B. Thomas) with the
events at Ford's Theater described "as they really happened" - with
appropriate historian's qualifications about uncertainties! The other
is Whitman's "O Captain, My Captain". With a little discussion, people
easily see that both accounts can convey truth about Lincoln's death,
that Whitman's should not be "harmonized" historically with Thomas's, &
that the former in some ways conveys best what Lincoln's death _meant_.
Whitman's poem would be "false history" if one insisted on reading it
_as_ historical narrative & thinking it said Lincoln really did die on
board a ship. But that isn't how to read it.