> The basic problem to which Howard's post calls our attention is not the
>_truth_ of Scripture but the character or genre of biblical accounts. As
long >as Christians keep thinking that the Bible can be true only if it is
accurate >historical narrative, the church will be bogged down in fruitless
concordism. >(& to forestall a common objection, I'm not saying that
biblical accounts are >_in_accurate history. Some of them are not to be
read as history in the >modern sense at all.)
I was trying hard to stay out of this discussion. While I agree with Howard
that we must not engage in Bibliolatry (which is paralleled by the
Israelites believing that the Ark of the Covenant would save them from the
Philistines), we can't easily dismiss the need for history in these
apparently historical accounts. Now I want to make clear that I am NOT,
repeat NOT, talking about Genesis 1 here. So please don't respond about
some Genesis 1 issue.
I would agree with you, George, in what you said in your book:
"Israel's confession of faith is that God acted in human history to bring
the people out of Egypt. The profession of faith in Dt. 26:5-9 is just this
statement of Israel's enslavement in Egypt, and of God's salvation which is
given in the Exodus." ~ George L. Murphy, The Trademark of God, (Wilton,
Conn.: Morehouse-Barlow, 1986), p. 9
Why must this be 'in history' if Genesis isn't historical? The entire
account of how the Israelites went to Egypt is contained in Genesis. For
something to be historical it must be capable of being verified. And it
must not already have been falsified. We don't believe the story related by
the book of Mormon because it says that there are big walled cities in
North America prior to Columbus, that there were chariots here (when the
Native Americans didn't invent the wheel), and that there where horses in
North America between 600 B.C. and 1492. All of this is false and does not
match the data of archaeology.
If we are to be consistent we must apply the same standard to the Scripture.
You further wrote:
"God, who created the universe and acted in human history, is still
active. God is still working, still bringing 'something from nothing' in
his saving acts. That is why Scripture speaks of the Lord as 'the living
God,' and taunts the heathen idols who are unable to do anything.
"Creation out of nothing is God's trademark. It is the sign which
authenticates all of God's work.
"When we look at the stories of the Old Testament in the light of this
idea, with what we have seen of the Exodus and the return from exile, we
find many more places in which this mark is prominent. God carried Noah
and his family through the flood waters which destroyed the old world, and
brought from them new life. God gave old Abraham and Sarah, who were far
beyond the age to have children, the child of promise, bringing life out of
the barren womb. God brings hope when all human hope is gone. ('So Sarah
laughed to herself, saying, 'After I have grown old, and my husband is old,
shall I have pleasure?'"--Gen. 18:12.)" ~ George L. Murphy, The Trademark
of God, (Wilton, Conn.: Morehouse-Barlow, 1986), p. 14-15
How could God carry Noah through the flood if it wasn't HISTORICAL? By this
I mean a flood that actually happened. And if the account we are given in
the Scripture doesn't match the data of science, then the account in
Scripture IS NOT HISTORICAL. PERIOD. If the account in Scripture violates
observational data then it is FALSE just like the Book of Mormon is FALSE.
We simply can't engage in a double standard. And if the Flood WAS
historical, then there must be some evidence of it somewhere that matches
some part of the story told in Genesis 6-9. If Noah's flood was a
historical event, then please relate a scenario that matches the Biblical
account in its details. If we can't, then we don't have a historical
event. President Clinton is having difficulties because he appears to be
unable to produce a scenario which matches the documentary data and his
own public denials which will at the same time absolve him of wrong doing.
Clinton's accounts so far have all the appearance of a nonhistorical
account. And I would suggest that Christians do the same thing when we
don't provide a scenario that matches the details of the Biblical account.
Christians continue to point to Mesopotamia or the Black Sea or the
Caspian Sea as the site of the flood. Yet none of the scenarios which are
advocated for those locations match the details of the Biblical account.
We, like Clinton, have trouble matching our stories with the documents.
This creates a big disconnect between ACTUAL history as deduced from
archaeological and geological data and the 'theological' history deduced
from the Bible. I submit that by advancing a flood scenario, whether
global or local, which doesn't match the Biblical account, we make the
Bible out to be as false as the Book of Mormon. In fact I would suggest
that when we advocate scenarios that don't match the details of the
Biblical account, we are engaged in a grand re-write of the Bible to make
it better match the story we think God should have inspired.
(for those who might want to see my reasons why Mesopotamia can't be the
Flood location see http://www.isource.net/~grmorton/mflood.htm )
And by sticking with such flawed explanations of the flood, we are
implicitly admitting that the Bible doesn't actually match a historical
event. Of course, after admitting that the details of the Biblical account
of the Flood aren't to be paid any serious attention, we then wonder why
so many leave our faith over these issues.
Adam, Apes and Anthropology
Foundation, Fall and Flood
& lots of creation/evolution information