Re: Actively Guided Evolution?

George Murphy (
Tue, 04 Aug 1998 12:27:47 -0400

Jan de Koning wrote:
> 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.

I agree. The fact that truth can be conveyed in ways other than historical
narrative is important throughout Scripture, not just in the opening chapters of
Genesis. It's a mistake, e.g., to think that the truth of the resurrection is imperiled
if one can't "harmonize" as a set of historical events the number of angels & women at
the tomb, the order of appearances, &c.
Biblical writers apparently had a good deal of freedom in editing material to
make theological points - compare Chronicles, which presents a highly idealized picture
of the Davidic monarchy, complete with exaggerated sums of money & sizes of armies, in
with Samuel-Kings. The history in Chronicles is wrong only if you insist that it be
read as the same kind of history as Samuel-Kings.
George L. Murphy