RE: Something must change

Rasmussen, Ryan J. (
Sun, 16 Aug 1998 19:39:08 -0400


Yes, I was fairly certain that you were not directing the complaint at
me personally. I certainly understand the points you make too. And I
am sorry for being a little defensive in my reply. This is simply a
topic that weighs heavily on me at the present and I'm having a
difficult time with it. I feel really uncomfortable with the thought
that there are things in the Bible that are truly in error and not
simply some type of misinterpretation of the scripture... makes me wish
I knew Hebrew. :) One more thing for the ever-increasing "To Do" list
of my life.

I guess at this point I'm looking (and hoping) for ways to resolve some
of the apparent conflicts by looking at different ways to interpret what
was written and see if it can be explained by something other than
"that's all they knew at the time". While this is truly a valid option,
and very well could be the case, I don't know if I am ready to accept
such a viewpoint at this time.

God created the universe with an amazing amount of order to it, and in
doing so, He knew we would eventually be able to discern this order. He
has taken a lot of care in the complexity and intricacies of the laws of
nature which ultimately led to our evolution/creation. Its hard for me
to believe that a being of such amazing power, knowledge, and order, who
actively interacts with His creation, would allow such blatant conflicts
between His message (that was to be a pillar of strength and learning
for _all_ of humanity, for _all_ time) and what we understand of His
creation today assisted by modern science.

God did bless us with the gift of reasoning and sound judgment and in
doing so knew that we would one day be in the position we are right
now... questioning the meaning of the Scripture in relation to what we
observe to the contrary in His creation. Are we to trust the reasoning
ability He blessed us with more so than the scripture He has also
blessed us with through divine inspiration? The writing in the
scripture proclaims that IT is the truth. Yet when I can walk up to a
museum and see with my own eyes the bones of a dinosaur that has teeth
designed for ripping flesh from another animal, how do can I believe the
Bible when it says that animals that lived before the time of Noah were

I simply can't pick between one or the other. I trust my common
sense... I also trust the Bible.

2 Samuel 22:31
"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is
a shield for all who take refuge in him.

2 Peter 1:20
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about
by the prophet's own interpretation.

2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking,
correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be
thoroughly equipped for every good work

[Taken from a webpage on the inerrancy of the bible.... sorry lost the
address and couldn't find the page again.]

"In Matthew 24:38-39 Jesus affirmed the historicity of the universal
flood and Noah's Ark. He cited the events of Jonah as having literally
happened, and thus supporting the claim that the Old Testament account
of this event was indeed inspired (Matt. 12:40). For some to claim that
Christ was merely embracing Jewish legend, which He actually knew to be
false either scientifically or historically, simply to make His
homiletic points, is in fact to accuse Christ of the highest duplicity."

I know the Bible is not meant to be a science textbook. I understand
that back in the time of Moses it was much more important for people to
know the simple fact that God made the universe and all the life in it
and not the science by which he did so. It is highly doubtful that the
people of Moses' time would have been able to comprehend a singularity
turned "Big Bang", quantum mechanics, molecular biology, etc. However,
it is obvious that generation upon generation of mankind would
understand "God created the heavens and the earth." Things had to be
simplified but they still had to be true.

The Bible is a much more a blueprint for the way we should live our
lives according to His plan. But, it is hard for many people such as
myself to know to trust what one part says and discard another based on
my own limited knowledge. It would require every believer to have
knowledge in a huge amount of scientific and theological fields of study
in order to be sure that they have the correct interpretation. (Or
perhaps a new version of a Bible with the alternate translations for
"under all of heaven" switched to "as far as the eye could see" which
correlate more closely with what we see through the study of His

Thank you for your input and ideas because like the rest of the comments
on the list it gives us a chance to slip out of one paradigm and into
another to see if the viewpoints we hold are the "best" answer to our

Ryan Rasmussen


I think I will always have questions that will most likely remain
unanswered until a much later date in "time" (which probably won't exist
as we know it).

Was Adam the first hominid that evolved sufficiently enough to receive a
soul and realization of the existence of God? Is that why the Hebrews
were His chosen which received special favor? Does that explain why Eve
had to be specially created so Adam could have an equal mate?

Were the Gentiles the other hominids that roamed the face of the earth
which eventually evolved a similar capacity in being able to receiving a
soul and realize the presence of God? Were they the cities that Cain
fled to after killing Abel?

If the Jews had accepted Christ as the Messiah what would have been the
fate of the Gentiles?

Were the Native Americans (and others like them who held a very strong
relationship with their perceived Creator of the world and His creation)
technically worshiping God?

Did God foresee the tempting of Eve? Why wasn't there more instruction
to them? Why were they left alone to without "parental supervision"
during such a seemingly critical stage in their development? Why
weren't they warned of Satan?

It appears that Adam and Eve did not realize who God was when they
communed with Him in Eden. Actually, just the fact that this universe
was seemingly created outside of the direct and overwhelming presence of
the Lord was not a trivial matter. When God spoke to Adam the tone is
much more of a human to human manner. God searched for them (implying
that He didn't know where they were?). When they ate of the fruit and
realized their "nakedness" and were ashamed, doesn't it seem that they
would be more ashamed of their new-found difference from God rather than
the differences of the male and female bodies? What would our
relationship with God have been like without the fall?

God is the Master Designer, the Almighty Creator. He has created heaven
and universe, angels and mankind. Can we expect more creations in our
future eternity with Him?

What roll will "free will" play in our eternity with Him?

The list will surely continue...

Granted these questions are more suited to a theology listserve but they
all play a part in the "big picture" which continually unfolds before

-----Original Message-----
From: Howard J. Van Till []
Sent: Friday, August 14, 1998 1:41 PM
To: ASA Listserve
Cc: Rasmussen, Ryan J.
Subject: RE: Something must change


Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I trust you understood that my
was not directed toward you personally.

You wrote:

>I guess it all starts with a person's assumptions on what the Bible is
>and how much direction God gave in the writing of it. Was the hand of
>man guided in what was written? Or, were the authors simply inspired
>with the general teachings that God wanted them to convey and then
>room to add a little "nonsense" here and there about vegetarianism,
>great floods, the stopping of the earth for a day?

1) Yes, you are quite correct to identify them as 'assumptions.' As
they must be thoughtfully examined.

2) It was not "nonsense" to those who wrote it, but it could easily
generate nonsense if readers used it inappropriately at a much later
Good Bible study requires good preparation. Few of us today are
sufficiently acquainted with the Ancient Near Eastern world and its
literature to recognize half of what is going on textually in the Hebrew

> That would require each of us to "lean on our own understanding" in
>sifting through what the Bible says in order to separate "truth" from
>author's lack of understanding of the natural world.

Yes, I think so. To fail to do so invites the propagation of error. It
sounds like you already came to realize this.

>I'm here to reach a comfortable state in my faith and strengthen my
>relationship with God and His Word.

My suggestion: Let the concept of "Word of God" be far more than an
equating of the biblical text (written in a conceptual vocabulary very
different from our own) with "His Word." Let it be the ongoing presence
guidance of God as we reflect on all of human experience, including the
experience of becoming acquainted with the products of scientific

> At this point in my search, I
>simply choose to have more trust in the ability of God to write a book
>which would speak truthfully to all ages of mankind, from the shepherd
>of Herod's time to the astro-physicist of today.

I suggest that your choice to refer to "the ability of God to write a
opens the door to the biblicism and bibliolatry of which I spoke in my
earlier post.


Howard Van Till