Re: NTSE Report #1 (fwd)

Glenn Morton (
Fri, 28 Feb 1997 22:58:55 -0600

At 12:49 PM 2/28/97 -0500, Murphy wrote of Genesis 6:1-4:

> The text makes little sense if the benoth ha-adham aren't the
>female descendants of the humans God created earlier. But besides that,
>your reconstruction seems to me pure speculation. If someone wanted to
>try a "story sermon" taking off from Gen.6:1-4 in that way, & did it
>well, it might be OK. But it certainly can't be said that that's what
>the text means.
Sure my reconstruction is unproven, but it allows for the incorporation of
large regions of science with the Scripture. Geology can finally fit into
the Biblical framework. Anthropology clearly shows very human-like
activities of men who do not look like us but can

>> > But perhaps an equally pressing question: Why do people, as you
>> >say, "Want to hear" that Methuselah was a real human being who lived 969
>> >years &c? Is the problem perhaps that no one has called their attention
>> >to the fact - obvious once it is pointed out - that there are different
>> >ways of being true besides being chronicle-like narrative?
>> Do you believe that Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave after 4 days?
>> If so, why would you want to believe that particular oddity?
>> If not, why do you believe that Jesus is the son of God?
>> My point is that if God could raise a man from the grave after his brain had
>> been without oxygen for 96 hours, then why is it so difficult to believe
>> that God could have initially created a long-lived human?
> The Bible contains historical writing & expresses the
>fundamental belief that God has acted in the real history of the world.
>Not everything in the Bible is historical narrative. & that all holds
>true for the gospel accounts of Jesus. The gospel is the message about
>the real human being Jesus of Nazareth who lived ~2000 years ago and was
>crucified under Pontius Pilate. But not all the gospel accounts are
>accurate historical reports about him.

I notice that you failed to tell me whether you think Jesus raised Lazarus
after his brain had been without oxygen for 96 hours. If you think many
accounts are not historically accurate, then I would say that you are like
the emporor, who believed that he was fully clothed in spite of all
observational evidence that he was naked as a jaybird. You want to say that
Jesus is the son of God but the accounts re so inaccurate that we might not
really know what happened. This is strange logic for a former physicist.

This epistemology means that you are free to pick and choose what you want
to believe about Jesus. when we adpopt such an apologetic, There are no
restrictions on what one might wish to believe. If all the accounts about
Jesus are not historically accurate, how can you possibly be sure that the
resurrection of Jesus is accurate? If Jesus did resurrect Lazarus, then it
consistent with the deity of Jesus, and therefore consistent with the
resurrection. But if the bible is to be emptied of all miracles, like the
resurrection of Lazarus, why believe thare is any good in a book full of
fairy tales, or worse, religious lies intended to deceive the followers into
giving money, power and prestige to the disciples. Is there any protection
under your epistemology from the possibility that Christianity is a
magnificent, colossal hoax?

> The question isn't whether or not God could have someone live
>969 years. First, you have to study the documents to see if they seem
>to be the kind of report that would warrant treating such a long-lived
>person as putative historical fact.

Did Abraham live to 137 years? While not beyond the reach of reality,
living this long was not likely in an early farming community. i remember
that the life span in those communities actually declined from the previous
Mesolithic periods. and in the Mesolithic the life spans were around 30-40

> Simply insisting that all the
>biblical accounts _can_ (sometimes in a very forced or speculative way)
>be treated as historical narrative is no answer at all.

Neither is it a solution to yell 'historically inaccurate' everytime a
harmonization difficulty is encountered. Under that rule, I would long ago
have become the atheist I very nearly became. Why believe a book of
historically inaccurate accounts about Jesus can lead me to God?


Foundation, Fall and Flood