RE: Something must change

Rasmussen, Ryan J. (
Tue, 18 Aug 1998 13:20:08 -0400


I see your point. I apologize for not grasping the meaning of your post
the first time. I can also see how a person could dedicate their whole
life to such a matter and still not be able to learn the detail of all
the science, history, sociology, and theology that is required for such
an undertaking. That's why lists such as this, where people from all
different kinds of experience and opinions, are so important. It
constantly causes us to review our own assumptions and verify our

I guess the point I am/was trying to make is that, even though there
have been a lot of failures for Christian Science to do its job of
finding the link between science and Scripture, it is still a valid
option for assumption for people to start their search from if they
chose to. Its completely logical that a person who knows very little
about science or history but is well read in Scripture would believe
such a thing as the Bible being "true" in all ways.

I have an amazing amount to learn about the things that are discussed on
this list. I like the fact that it contains all kinds of theories, some
well accepted... some not. I'd rather have too much information to form
my opinions on rather than too little. As it is, much of this
discussion has brought to my attention the fact that I know very little
about the Bible's literary forms and is causing me to now start
searching deeply into the Scripture from a literary standpoint. I thank
you and everyone else that has contributed to this thread because now I
am once again questioning my assumptions and conclusions.

This is all a growing experience for each of us. Some are ready to take
big steps, others need the security of a handrail. Its a BIG step for
many to discount the "historical truth" of the Bible. It is the
handrail that I lean on for many things in my life and I like to trust
in its strength. It was hard enough being accused of "serving another
master" when I took the big step of telling my family and friends that I
accepted evolution as the way that God created us. Keep up the good
work in searching because in the end it benefits us all.

Ryan Rasmussen

I'd still like to know who came up with the crazy idea to say that
before the flood that man and animal ate only veggies. (Or for that
matter... what other literary/sociological/theological/interpretational
explanation can be offered.) Amazing... the kind of discussion that is
created from a simple question...

-----Original Message-----
From: Howard J. Van Till []
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 1998 11:55 AM
To: Rasmussen, Ryan J.
Cc: ASA Listserve
Subject: RE: Something must change


Some of your comments indicate that we are having a communication
The "concordism and harmonization" that I characterized as something
"simply won't work" is the familiar sort that takes something like
1-3 and simply _assumes_ that this is a _chronicle_ that specifies what
happened when. Concordism and harmonization efforts have led to such
proposals as 1) Creation Science and its attempt to reinterpret selected
empirical data to fit a literalistic, young-earth reading of Genesis
already in place, or 2) various day-age propositions that attempt to
harmonize the chronological structure of the Genesis 1 narrative into
timescale derived from empirical science.

In contrast to both of those "concordistic" approaches, your eloquent
rearticulation of the fundamental message of Genesis 1-3 and of Psalm 8
the conceptual vocabulary of the late 20th century is an example of what
am calling for. Keep it up.

On the matter of general procedure you offered this: "I think that it is
far better (more conservative) assumption to start out my search for
in the Bible by taking what it says as a historical fact, and then test
for its historic accuracy."

The key phrase there is "what it says as a historical fact." Discerning
what the Bible "says as a historical fact" requires far more informed
judgment than many Christians are willing to recognize. One of the very
first steps, it seems to me, is the expenditure of a great deal of
to become acquainted with the historical, cultural, religious, and
contexts in which a particular portion of the biblical text was written.
Following closely would be the expenditure of a comparable effort to
identify the literary genre of the particular text in question and the
manner in which that text functions in the context of the whole of the
biblical canon.

Therefore, rather than beginning with the assumption that all biblical
references to historical events are _chronicle_ in genre, I would rather
begin with the assumption that there is in the Bible a rich diversity of
forms of historical literature, and that one important way of respecting
the biblical text is to discern the genre before formulating an

I have a suspicion we are not too far apart on these matters.

Howard Van Till