Re: Social problems and evolution

Glenn Morton (
Sat, 07 Mar 1998 13:34:56 -0600

Hi Charles.

I am taking a temporary break from all the lists I have been on. I need it.
I don't think that the list will send out any message from those who are not
on the list. But I will try. So if you don't get a copy of this via ASA,
could you forward this to the list? I would appreciate it.
Then you can have the last word on this issue.

You wrote:
>Hi Glenn,
>You and I wrote re image of God and sin:
>>>An analogy might offer one possible interpretation: Children are not
>>>accountable for childish behavior; however, adults are. I view human
>>>evolution in the same way, and think of God as a watchful but distant
>>>parent, waiting for man to mature to a point where he can be responsible
>>>his behavior and God can formally introduce himself...
>>Then let me ask you why God didn't simply inspire an account which clearly
>>outlined this as you just did? Are you more verbally fluent than God? Is
>>God unable to know what happened? This is my problem with your suggestion.
>>God is GOD and should know what happened and SHOULD have the power to
>>communicate a true story to us mere mortals.
>Surely, Glenn, this question could be asked of any but the most literal
>interpretations of Genesis. If this is a weakness with my own
>interpretation, is it not also one with yours?

Well, I think that the Days of Proclamation view does provide a literal
reading. The statements in Genesis 1 can be parsed exactly as the Days of
Proclamation suggests. Take Genesis 1:3 which says (sans punctuation which
is absent in Hebrew)

"And God said let there be light and there was light "

This can be parsed as traditionally it is:

"And God said, 'Let there be light.' And there was light."


And God said, "Let there be light and there was light".

Since we don't generally like the latter, all views parse the sentence in
the former way. Thus there are two parts to the proclamation.

1. "And God said, 'Let there be light.'"

2. "And there was light."

Given these two parts, the only difference between the Days of Proclamation
view, which I advocate and the traditional young earth view is the question of
WHEN THERE WAS LIGHT. Young-earthers say that "And there was light."
requires instantaneous fulfillment of the command. The view I opt for allows
the fulfillment to be some considerable "time" after the proclamation. I
place "time" in quotes because I beleive that the proclamations were made
prior to the origin of the universe and thus the word 'time' doesn't really

But to answer your question, I do believe in a literal reading of Genesis
not the allegorical view that you think I do.

As to the Flood I believe that the Mediterranean local provides a site which
exactly matches the description of the "eretz" (land) which was flooded. The
filling of the Mediterranean would have caused massive rainfall, the
covering of high mountains, the need for an ark, and a flood lasting a full
year. What is not literal in that harmonization?

Parsing sentences is not always easy. There are two literal interpretations
of the sentence given by the Delphic oracle.

"The oracle at Delphi is said to have answered a king's inquiry about
whether or not he would return alive from a certain military campaign with the
following phrase, 'Ibis redibis non morieris in bello.' (The original is in
Greek, but the ambiguity remains in Latin.) The Sybil's reply was verbal and
therefore was not punctuated, and the king believed she said, 'Thous shalt
depart, thou shalt return, not in war shalt thou die." He departed a happy
man and was promptly killed in battle. The answer should have been understood
as 'thous shalt depart, thou shalt return not, in war shalt thou die." Merely
placing the comma after rather than before, not changes the whole
meaning."~Luigi L. Cavalli-Sforza and Francesco Cavalli-Sforza, The Great
Human Diaspora, (New York: Addison-Wesley, 1995), p. 79-80

Of course double entendre seems to have been the Delphic Oracle's stock in

>But to answer your question, why didn't God simply just tell us,
>well---okay, here goes---the bible, IMHO, is a book by men, for men, about
>God. Real flesh-and-blood men met him and recorded their experiences, first
>orally, I believe, and then in print. The question "why God didn't simply
>inspire an account which clearly outlined this" misses the point. The
>question should be, "why didn't the writers of the bible clearly outline
>this?" The answer is they didn't know any more about origins than they did
>about vacuum cleaners or can openers. They did the best they could with the
>understanding they had.
>A reasonable response to this is, if the bible wasn't inspired, why bother
>reading it in the first place?
>Inspiration is not lost; the different traditions that contributed to the
>bible began somewhere and with someone; I see no difficulty with those
>"someones" being inspired. Indeed, the similarities of parallel passages in
>the Pentateuch would indicate that the events they recorded were so
>immensely important that two or three or more communities independently
>passed them on for hundreds of years before they were assembled and redacted
>into an anthology or sorts--the OT.

While obviously we do not know the details of God's inspiration, We do have
Scripture making statements about scripture. "All Scripture is God-breathed
..." 2 Tim 3:16

And we have this from Jesus, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said
you are gods'? If he called the 'gods,' to whom the word of God came--and
the Scripture canot be broken---what about the one whom the Father set apart
as his very own and sent into the world?" John 10:34-36

Notice how Jesus describes it. The word of God came to men. It was God's
word not men's words. And what I find interesting in this is that Jesus is
citing Psalms 82:6 a poetical part of Scripture written by Asaph yet he
calls it God's word. And he also claims that Scripture can't be broken.

To me this doesn't sound like we have the option of claiming that these are
men's words.

>None of this invalidates your work at reconciliation, Glenn, it simply
>couches it in different terms.

While I would agree that what you suggest merely couches what I have done in
different terms. But I would reject those terms because it creates tensions
with how Jesus viewed the scripture.

Though I don't believe there was a real Adam
>and a real Garden of Eden, I do believe that somewhere along the line of
>human evolution, God said "they're ready," and introduced himself.

Let me ask. If it is possible to have an actual Garden and Adam, why would
we reject that possibility simply because we prefer a more allegorical (and
thus in my opinion subjective) approach? Which is better real history or
allegory? I for one choose history.

I have enjoyed this, but since I want to take a break, you may have the last
word. As I said, if you don't get a copy of this from the ASA, please
forward this to the list for me. Thanks.


Adam, Apes, and Anthropology: Finding the Soul of Fossil Man


Foundation, Fall and Flood