Re: Living by our assumptions (was Re: What's human?)

Glenn Morton (
Sun, 23 Nov 1997 22:43:42 -0600

At 09:53 PM 11/22/97 -0600, John P. McKiness wrote:
>there is a line of descent from Adam to me. I inherited my sinful nature
>from Adam and it is that sinful nature which is part of God's definition of
>man. Only God knows if Christ died for Charlie also.
>I admit I should have introduced Charlie last time and I should not have
>confused the issue with Adam above. (As an aside, as noted above, since my
>last post I am no long convinced that Neanderthals should be classified as a
>subspecies of Homo sapiens, therefore I 'm reverting back to the
>classification of Neanderthals as being Homo neanderthalensis.)

So then you would deny that clothing and worship are diagnostic of fallen
>you continued:
>>Also if "Religion is not rational" then why are you using rational
>>argumentation in support of your position? Remember you said:
>>>Science is based on the rules of western thought and experience (a human
>>>source). Our Christian faith is based on our acceptance of the truth of
>>>God's revelation.
>>The rules of western thought are rational argumentation.
>Yes, so what is your point? I admit that science is based on the rules of
>western logic -- how does that relate to Scripture? It doesn't in my book.
>God's revelation through Adam as faith in Christ is not based on the rules
>of western philisophical thought -- it is not based on any form of human
>formalized logic. Faith is always an irrational leap.

Then here is where the big inconsistency in your thought comes into play, at
least as I understand your position. You deny the ability to use logic in
Faith. For the act of faith, I would agree. After that, I would disagree.
If logic has nothing to do with revelation, then maybe we should still
believe in the "revealed" firmament (a solid dome over the sky), waters
above the sky (which I belief probably came from the sky's daytime color.)
and maybe the revealed geocentricity.
>But communication between humans must rely on rational argumentation, we
>must be pragmatic but not inappropriate. In our case, you are refusing to
>recognize the gulf between the definition of "man" given by God in Adam and
>Christ and the definitions given by anthropology/biology. They are not the

If the definition of humanity I see in Scripture includes worship of
something, and clothing after the fall, then I can find evidences of that in
the archeological record and apply the God-given definition to those fossil men.

>If you accept the evolutionary progression of hominids interpreted by
>scientists from the fossil record, you must define the term differently than
>God did, because your scientific definition must be based on skeletal and
>cultural remains not our relationship with YHWH. Cultural adaptations may
>or may not relate to the relationship of the organism with YHWH. But
>relationship to YHWH is out of the realm of science and human logic and in
>the realm of revelation and faith.

We cannot see the wind. We can see the effects of the wind by the trees
blowing. We can feel the effect of the wind against our faces. While we
might not be able to see the spiritual relationship of fossil man to his
god, we can see the effect of that relationship in the form of altars, idols
and clothing.

>Your continued after my reply about the dichotomy hitting you,
>>That is your dichotomy, not mine. And you are not living by your dichotomy
>>because you keep discussing the relationship betweeen science and theology.
>>When you consistently live by your dichotomy, you should not be able to
>>mention Adam in the same breath as any science statement.
>>However, I disagree entirely that science and religion should be separated.
>>And I am NOT constrained by your dichotomy, that is your problem. The
>>dichotomy is not intuitively obvious and indeed, is counterintuitive. Thus I
>>categorically reject the notion that the two knowledges can't be mixed. And
>>by your actions, I don't think you do a good job of separating your science
>>from your religion. I think what you are trying to do is quite impossible as
>>you are demonstrating. But since I don't agree with it, I am not bound to
>>try to live by it. So citing your own self-imposed dichotomy as a reason my
>>views can't be correct is not a very strong argument.
>Charlie and his/her cultural setting may or may not equal Adam and his
>cultural setting, we can not tell using either science or Scripture.
>The dichotomy constrains us all and it should be obvious to those who
>recognize our present position before God because our logic is flawed to an
>extent we cannot measure by sin and our "knowledge" is limited by the
>constrain of our limitations.

If our logic is that flawed, does this mean that we cannot determine by
logic and observation that there is no solid dome over the earth? Can we not
determine that the sun is at the center of the solar system and that people
live at the antipodes? A belief that our logic is flawed leaves us unable
to determine anything at all.

>This is why I believe that both your position
>and that of "creation scientists" are similar, both are misleading, and
>inappropriate. If you insist in trying to conform science with Scripture
>or Scripture to science you will not help yourself or others struggling with
>the science vs. faith issues.

But you are "conforming science with Scripture" when you say that Adam was
not a Neanderthal but a farmer. Why does that escape your definition of
conforming science with Scripture?

We must recognize the barrier between the
>two ways of "knowing" or your faith and those who follow your example will
>remain under attack by scientific evidence and human logic and will
>eventually be relegated to the dung heap. Faith has no ground to stand on
>when attacked by human logic especially by moderns or post-moderns. We must
>admit that faith is illogical by human standards, we must admit we cannot
>defend God, and we must be willing to admit that we have no scientific
>evidence for God's past or present activity because He and His activity are
>beyond human measurement and reason. We must be able to turn to God and say
>"I do not know about these things but I accept throught the knowledge of
>Christ that You You have given me that You are God and You are trustworthy
>and I seek You and You Love." This is the childlike faith that is required
>of us.

For saving faith, I agree that childlike faith is required. For dealing
with the world's observational data, I obviously disagree.

>Remember that Neanderthal was
>>the first being to bury his dead flexed (tightly bound with knees drawn up
>>to the chest and arms bound. In many modern cultures this is done to
>>restrain the dead man's spirit. (Alexander Marshack, "Early Hominid Symbol
>>and Evolution of the Human Capacity," in Paul Mellars, The Emergence of
>>Modern Humans, (Ithica: Cornell Univ. Press, 1990), pp 457-498, p. 489)
>>Since Neanderthal was doing what we do (and I am not constrained by your
>>dichotomy), why should I interpret his activities differently? Doesn't that
>>lead to racism if I interpret the very human activities of another racial
>>group differently than I interpret those same activities among my group?
>I was trying to point out that religious activity may be more in the eye of
>the beholder than in the data in these cases and it may not relate to Adam
>at all. Notice I pointed out that other species, which do not have material
>human culture, may be doing something Charlie (or Charlie's descendants) did
>with his/her material culture. Charlie's material, cultural remains may be
>found, but you have to be present to see, hear, and smell the wolf's
>"cultural" activity. It really does depend on the observers interpretation
>of what is "religion," only God knows what was/is really going on in the
>case of the a fossil hominid and a wolf.

Let me point out that only God knows what was going on in the heart of the
ancient Egyptians. Maybe they were not human either. Your position argues
for solipsism.

>>But if we can mix science and religion then I will answer your point. It is
>>true that habilis is a skeletal definition. But Homo habilis is also the
>>first being that had the enlarged Broca's area and brain asymmetry both of
>>which are associated with speech! Only man speaks.
>Sorry, but now you have started a new definitional problem. What do you
>mean by speech? I _do not_ hold that "man" by any definition is the only
>group whose individuals communicate vocally nor do I believe that the
>Broca's area is required for speech (or the many other methods organisms
>have to communicate) in other species just because it is for us. It would
>appear by our discussions that we may communicate with each other.

Animal communication uses an entirely different portion of their brains than
humans use for their communication. Humans use Broca's area; animals use a
region very deep inside their brains. When you hit your thumb with a hammer
and you let loose with a profanity, you are using the part of your brain
that animals use for communication. Animals rarely have more than 40 natural
calls (humans have hundreds of thousands of words). Animals taught to speak
(more correctly sign language-chimpanzees) never get past the 2-3 word
sentences and don't use articles and prepositions. They almost never have a
vocabulary more than 150 words. The enlarged Broca's area is significant.

>Maybe only silence remains as an option of us.
>However, in hope that communication is still possible between us I will
>You continued with
>>>>I could not accept that. You seem stuck with the presupposition that Adam
>>>>was a recent creation. He couldn't be or problems like you suggest
arise. I
>>>>would suggest that you move Adam back in time like I do.
>>>No Glenn, I am not stuck on that hypothesis, but I accept it as a
>>>possibility just as I accept that Adam was more like Ramapithicus then Homo
>>>habilis. As scientists we must think in terms of multiple working
>>>hypotheses, not stuck on protecting one to the death as we make statements
>>>that the evidence does not support.
>>I thought evidence had nothing to do with religion. I thought we weren't
>>supposed to mix religion and science? If Religion and science are from two
>>worlds why are you discussing Adam (a theological being) in the same
>>sentence with Ramapithecus (a scientific creature)?
>Revelation (and faith) and science, not religion and science, is where the
>dichotomy lies, but you missed the point again.
>I can just as easily accept that Adam was a Ramapithicus or a Homo
>whateverensis. It makes no difference to me because paleoanthropology can
>not deal with Adam as it cannot deal with God, but it can deal with Charlie.

Then we can't leave Charlie undefined.

>Don't take this too harshly, but I believed you have missed the point
>throughout our many exchanges. As a science student, I believe you misuse
>scientific data and interpretations to make science support your concept of
>how God accomplished what He does not reveal, and as a Christian I don't
>like your (or any apologist"s) mix of human reason to prove the validity of
>Christian faith. You have changed you story from your YEC days but not your
>crusading spirit or methodology. We are called Christians because of our
>position before God in Christ not because of our current scientific
>understanding of fossil hominids and how someone dovetails that
>understanding with scripture. YECs are going to be convinced by anything
>you say. If they are serious about science they are going to have to have a
>conversion experience that only the Holy Spirit can bring them to as He did
>for us. We all must "work out" our faith "with fear and trembling" (I know
>that is out of context and that Lutherans are not supposed to know about
>that verse and that I have equated salvation with faith).

I agree that we are called christians because of our position before God.
But we must still deal with what we see in this world, because God created
it, God interacted with it in ways that left evidence.

>Christians and others need to understand what faith is and what its true
>requirements are before they enter any classroom. Having the understanding
>that all "knowledge" is one is wrong, there are two forms of knowledge and
>they do not overlap. One is revealed by God, the other is rationalized by
>man; the fate of a faith may depends in part on the value placed on each
>type of knowledge. If you place a higher value on human reason and
>scientific evidence (as I believe you do) than on an "irrational" faith in
>Christ, then heaven help you.

If we take the position that "all 'knowledge' is [not] one" then we can
believe in almost anything whatsoever. I can believe in pyramid power etc.
There is no constraint to our whimsy. But then I don't think I have missed
your point in all this at all (and you admitted that I did a good job of
pulling quotes that reflected your position). It is precisely here that we
most profoundly disagree. Truth must be one. If that makes me like a YEC in
your eyes then I am proud to stand with them on an issue where they are correct.

Your brother in Christ.


Foundation, Fall and Flood