Re: Something must change

Glenn R. Morton (
Mon, 17 Aug 1998 21:21:22 -0500

At 09:02 AM 8/17/98 -0400, George Murphy wrote:
>Glenn R. Morton wrote:
>> 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.
> There are lots of questions here, but at this point I'll just note that
>you make a big jump from "there was a flood" to "all the details in the
Bible >must match scientific data". I see no reason why that must be the
case. I >think that the account of the flood in Gen.6-8 is based upon old
traditions of >real Mesopotamian floods, a la Gilgamesh, & that the
biblical writers have >freely used those traditions to make a theological
statement about divine >judgment and grace. The fact that a lot of the
details in the resulting >account don't fit with the way a huge flood in
Mesopotamia would have taken >place - as you have often argued, & note in
the following - is far from

I would merely note that in all other areas of human endeavor, except
theology, we require that the data match our theories. We would not
believe any historician who claimed that Lee made a march across Georgia
and burned everything in sight! It wouldn't accord with the facts and we
would laugh the man out of the circles of historians. Why, oh why, do we
Christians think we can play such a game with the word of God?

>> 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.
> The assumption that rules of evidence in a modern grand jury proceeding
>govern the truth or falsity of biblical accounts is quite wrong. They
aren't >even the same as the rules of evidence of science.

They aren't totally divorced either. If I claim that there is an ancient
delta facies in a particular place in the earth's subsurface, and there is
no sand there, then I am wrong. It is conformance to the DETAILS that makes
something true. Disconformance with details is what we call falsification.
We simply can't have truth without conformance to the details. The book of
Mormon is false because it doesn't conform to the details, Clinton is in
trouble because his statements don't conform to the details and the Flood
must be false if an account doesn't match the details.

>> 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.
> Only if we are trying to argue that all the Bible is modern historical
>narrative. It isn't.

I don't care whether it is modern or not. I want to know if it is TRUE.
The creation myth that has the earth created from two salamanders is not
TRUE and just because it is old gives it no special license to turn
falsehood into truth.

>>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.
> & some might argue that a Mediterranean flood is a good example of such a

It is a scenario that does match the data both of geology and anthropology.
I haven't seen others that match it.

>> (for those who might want to see my reasons why Mesopotamia can't be the
>> Flood location see )
>> 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.
> To the extent that this is true, it means that we need to be much more
>honest with people about the character of biblical narratives.

So, it is ok to say that because the Biblical narratives don't relate real
history (even though they appear to) we should believe them? The Book of
Mormon relates what appears to be a real history. Should we believe it?
After all, it might be historically false but TRUE in a metaphysical sense


Adam, Apes and Anthropology
Foundation, Fall and Flood
& lots of creation/evolution information