Re: Actively Guided Evolution?

Jan de Koning (
Tue, 04 Aug 1998 09:58:49 -0400

I agree that reading Gen.1-3 as "real history" in the modern sense of the
word causes many, many problems not only in reading, but also in faith.
More difficulties could be mentioned. One is for example the gradual
estrangement of "ordinary pew-sitters" and scientists. However, that is
not only true for Gen.1-3. The Christian Reformed Church made it Gen.1-11
in 1988 and appointed a study committee, which reported in 1991. Even
that is not enough. Looking at the gospels we can see the same problems:
the order of stories in the gospels is definitely not uniform.

The trouble lies deeper. We should try to read the gospels, the whole
bible as the people that first heard the stories. They had a completely
different background, and God wanted to talk to them in their language.
Due to human disobedience (tower of Babel) the ability to understand people
of other cultures requires much study. Even now in the ASA one recognizes
the background of several participants in the debate, using the "in"
language of their particular "branch of Christianity," expecting that
others will understand them. For example. the word translated as "true"
has as a basic understanding in the Bible "faithfulness." For that reason
I, too, ask: :"What do you mean when you say, that the Bible is inerrant?"
I do accept every word in the Bible, in so far as we know it, but . . ..

Hebrew and Greek words are not always translated with the same words. The
translators use their judgment in translating. Consequently, there are
parts of Scripture where you hardly recognize that the same text is
translated. Note that I do not even mention the different manuscripts,
(and even the original manuscripts were written down after the facts
recorded) none of the manuscripts is original, all of them are transcripts.
The persons doing the translating cannot but be influenced by their own
time and culture. Even if they realize the difference between, for
example, Jewish life and modern life, they seldom realize that translating
is also influenced by the culture in which one lives. That means that now,
in a "scientific" age scientific concepts are accepted as guiding
principles, even in translating. Far from blaming the translators, I would
only suggest that translating is a human effort, thus affected by human
sin. We Calvinists call it "total depravity," and we read about that
concept in the bible.

So, though I say that the original writers wrote down inerrant the Word of
the Lord, errors (sins) were and are made in transcribing, translating and
reading. If we read the different Bible translations we become more and
more aware of the fact, that if we declare a particular translation of the
bible inerrant, we run into difficulties, when we read other translations.
Yes, the Lord made sure that the basic facts of salvation and condemnation
are known to everyone who reads the bible, but one cannot found particular
time scales on the bible, I believe. In the above sense I am willing to
accept an inerrant bible. I do realize, that not everyone thinks the same

Jan de Koning
Willowdale, Ont.