Re: Corrected Insert

George Murphy (
Fri, 21 Nov 1997 20:00:34 -0500

Arthur V. Chadwick wrote:

> To paraphrase a geologist friend of mine at a recent meeting of the society
> of christian Geologists, maybe it is time that some of you who have given
> up on a literal reading of the Bible (and thus achieved a superior position
> to those of us who have not) reexamined your positions on science in terms
> of Scripture. Why is it only Scripture that has to be reinterpreted??? I
> know that is the easiest course, in terms of intellectual acceptability,
> but you know as well as I it is not an easy course in terms of theological
> implications. Maybe there is a good reason why it is not easy.

1st, a disclaimer: I am not claiming personal superiority over
those who do not accept evolution. But I think that on this issue,
especially from a theological standpoint, they're wrong.
As to interpretation of Scripture:
1) Most people who claim to intepret Scripture literally
don't. E.g., the fact that Gen.1 teaches mediated creation of life is
usually missed (or downplayed) by so-called literalists.
2) Again, many people assume that a "literal" reading of
Scripture means treating it all as accurate historical chronicle. It
3) A "literal" reading of Gen.1 & 2 (i.e., paying careful
attention to what the texts really say) makes it clear that we have two
different accounts. If we believe Scripture to be true, they cannot
both be accurate historical accounts, & their is no compelling reason to
assume that either is. Thus there is _internal_ evidence against what
are usually called "literal" readings of the texts - this in addition to
the _external_ evidence provided by science. Thus _sola scriptura_ is
4) A number of the church fathers interpreted Genesis as
teaching mediated creation of life, & Gregory of Nyssa in the 4th
century came close to an evolutionary understanding of humanity.
(Messenger's _Evolution and Theology_ is an invaluable source for this -
though it's almost impossible to find.) The idea that Genesis 1-2 had
always been interpreted as fundamentalists do until Darwin is wrong.
Thus one can speak of "reinterpretation" of Scripture only with some
George Murphy