Glenn and John's discussion continues.

John P. McKiness (
Mon, 8 Sep 1997 22:08:21 -0500

A thought came to me as I was composing this reply to Glenn that while Glenn
and I are enjoying ourselves the rest of you on the list may be tired of it.
If this is the case we should continue on privately. Those of us that are
interested in this problem could easy link up privately. Any thoughts out
there? make your wishes known please!

I am including this post for anyone who may have come on line since my last
post. Sorry for its length.



At 07:31 PM 9/7/97 -0500, you wrote:
>Ok. Here may be the root of the disagreement. I absolutely agree that
>Christianity is not provable. No religion is provable. But that does not
>mean that logic must be thrown out of the window. Shoot, no scientific
>theory is provable, yet we use logic.
>While no core belief of any religion is provable, certain statements made by
>each religion are subject to empirical verification. The Buddhist (or
>Hindu?) whose religious document states that the earth sits on the back of
>an elephant standing on the back of a giant turtle swimming in the cosmic
>sea has a problem similar to what Christians have. Astronomers look and
>don't see the turtle. The devotee can interpret this statement in an
>allegorical fashion (i.e. the elephant is the sun and the turtle is the
>galaxy). In this fashion he makes his document "true". But what bothers me
>about this approach is that it is ad hoc. How do I know that it shouldn't be
>that the elephant is the electrical force which supports the ground and the
>turtle be the strong force which controls the nucleus. The sea can be the
>sea of virtual particles the elephant and turtle swim in.
>Which is the correct situation? Is the literal interpretation the correct
>one? The sun/galaxy interpretation? The fundamental force interpretation?
>All? Or more likely none?

I think we are on the right track now.

Remember late in May when we had our first go 'round, I expressed the idea
that harmonization of Christian faith and science was not possible because
they originate from different sources. There is God's truth which comes via
revelation from Him and knowledge which comes via human thought (including
the processes of observation and interpretation). Human thought can only
produce an approximation of "reality."

I have a problem with the idea that we can mix the two "knowledges" and that
is why I accept the dichotomy. I find the question you ask to be
inappropriate since by faith I must accept (under the system you described)
that no matter what astronomers say the Earth we live on rests on the back
of the elephant since God revealed that knowledge. As a scientist however I
rely on my training and observational skills to conclude that since I cannot
see or measure the elephant or its effect on the cosmos, it cannot enter
into my equations of the motion of the Earth in the cosmos.

As a scientist I cannot make statements about God or His activity because I
do not have the means to observe Him. As a Christian it is inappropriate
for me to make science statements based on my faith. This is the dichotomy
we must live with and enforce.

I said in my last:
>>All through Scripture faith was demanded and Jesus himself demanded
>>child-like faith.

Glenn replied:
>Initially. But that may not be where we are supposed to stop. Paul used
>lots of logic in his letters and in attempting to convert people. Look at
>the episode on Mars hill. He used logic to explain why god can't be an idol.
>(Acts 17:22-34)

I am not convinced. To me Paul's arguments take on more of an authoritative
ring, like someone explaining his personal knowledge. In my reading of the
Mars Hill episode he was using something familiar to the Greeks to tell them
what God revealed to him. I do not see much logic in his presentation. He
definitely does not start with proving Genesis or the existance of God to
the gentiles, he makes "faith statements" to them.

Later in my last post I said:
>>I see no significant difference between the attempts at reconciling faith
>>and science of many on the list (yourself included) and what the ardent
>>young earth creationist is attempting with "flood geology."

You replied:
>I agree that the goal is the same--to give historical context to the early
>part of scripture. If putting a historical context to the scripture is
>unimportant I would presume that you would feel it is useless to search for
>archaeological evidence of the existence of Abraham, David, Solomon, Daniel,
>Jesus or Paul? That is as certainly an attempt to reconcile faith and
>science as are my efforts or those of the YEC. Is there anything which is
>subject to investigation in religion?

I feel it is useless to search for evidence of individuals archaeologically,
unless they are significant people in their culture who would leave a trail
of evidence, such as David and Solomon. People like Daniel maybe, if they
were significant enough figures in the society they lived in, but how could
we tell that we found the right Daniel -- he may have had a common name in
the royal court. Abraham and Jesus on the other hand -- I have no
archeological hopes. Paul I believe could be found but I do not see the
need to look of any of the above.

Remember the book _Skeleton in God's Closet_, do you really want evidence
for Jesus? what would you do with it if you didn't like the rational
implications it engenders?

Later I said:
>>My approach is to admit that I see no possibility of reconciliation between
>>the works of man and God (I do not believe that even God can do that).
>>There is no evidence of a flood (regional or total) that conforms to the
>>Genesis account. There is no evidence (except hear-say) of the
>>resurrection. There is no evidence of God except that which can be see by
>>the eyes of faith.

You responded:
>Does this mean that if there was no evidence of the ancient Hebrews, no
>evidence of Egypt, no evidence of Jerusalem, no evidence of Romans, no
>evidence that any of the events in scripture, that you would still believe?
>If you answer yes then I want to know why don't you believe the book of
>Mormon which equally has no evidence but attests to a ministry of Jesus on
>this continent? It seems to me that the eyes of millions of Mormons see
>much more than we do via the eyes of faith.

If I had been brought up Mormon, the Spirit of God would have to convert me
to the truth or I would be lost. As a Christian, the Mormons understanding
of Christ is not consistent with the Bible, so if the Mormons are right I
pray that God will reveal my error.

At this point in my thinking I would have to remain true to my faith,
because scientific interpretation of physical evidence is not valid in the
court of faith.

John said:
>> This is the only message we have to offer. It is the
>>message that Christian students need to hear from an early age, it is their
>>faith that needs to grow to prepare them for the world, and they need to be
>>grounded in the texts of faith found in Scripture and history of the faith.

Glenn replied
>Sadly, I must disagree here. It looks to me as if you are saying we should
>have faith in faith alone. Faith in what? If the events described didn't
>happen what is there to be grounded in?
>As Paul said, "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless
>and so is your faith." The resurrection must be a historical event, subject
>to verification (if we had been there). Indeed Thomas claimed not to
>believe in the resurrection unless he could feel the wounds. As it turned
>out, he settled for merely seeing Jesus. But in that seeing, that was
>evidence for him.

I say that I have faith in Jesus Christ not in faith (faith in faith is silly!).

I agree with Paul, if Christ was not raised we ARE DEAD with NO HOPE.

The idea that verification could be proved "if we had been there" is just as
silly as the idea expressed by some that there is value in the idea that the
original documents of the Bible were without error. It doesn't do us any
good today. We must have faith in the revelation passed down to us today.

In an earlier post Glenn said
>>>I believe this because I believe that the resurrection was a HISTORICAL
>>>event. Belief is not what makes the resurrection true. And belief, by
>>>itself, is not what makes Christ count in the end.
I replied:
>>Sorry Glenn, but I believe you have left Christ at this point; it is only
>>the belief in Christ which counts in the end for each of us, that was His
>>message not mine.

Glenn followed with:
>Then maybe Paul has left Christ also. "If there is no resurrection of the
>dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been
>raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we
>are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about
>God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in
>fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ
>has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith
>is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen
>asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we
>are to be pittied more than all men." 1 Cor 15:13-19
>Would you suggest that the simple message of Christianity (it is only
>the belief in Christ which counts in the end for each of us) was highjacked
>and perverted by Paul? Paul seems to indicate that the resurrection is very
>crucial. In fact he seems to indicate that it must have actually happened!
>i.e. it was historical.

Think about this if the resurrection was a fabrication, there is no
salvation. So what. [Like those of us who had ocean station duty (30-50
days in one spot of the ocean -- only the weather and time of day change the
scenery) in the Coast Guard during the early 70's would say when told that
we had bad attitudes "So what, are you going to put me on a 'big white one
(coasty slang for a U.S. Coast Guard ship) and send me to sea?" In the case
of the resurrection, if it is not true we go where we would go anyway, to
hell, oblivion, recycled, whatever. But if it is true . . .

John said:
>>Reason would say there has to be another way. It says that the devote Hindu,
>>Jew, Moslem, Mormon, Animalist, etc., must have a chance if they are true to
>>their faiths and do good works. Jesus however said I am the Truth and the
>>Way . . . ; that is not rational by our human standards.

Glenn answered:
>One could also look at it that the resurrection IS the rational evidence for
>the Divinity of Christ.
>Foundation, Fall and Flood

But Glenn, that is true only if you have faith that the resurrection occurred!

In Him,