Re: Something must change

Glenn R. Morton (
Wed, 19 Aug 1998 22:26:23 -0500

At 09:58 PM 8/19/98 -0400, George Murphy wrote:
>Glenn R. Morton wrote:
>> The writer of Genesis, unlike the Gospel writers, didn't preface the Flood
>> account with 'And he spake a parable unto them," Luke 6:39.
> & often the gospels don't - e.g., there is no statement in Lk.10:29-37
that the
>account of the Good Samaritan is a parable. But that isn't the point

And it very well might have been a real event. I would imagine that there
were some very nice Samaritans who would help out a person in trouble.

Truth can
>be conveyed via fiction. What would you think of the man who wanted to
>himself" if, after Jesus told this story, he said "Duh, you still haven't
told me who my
>neighbor is"? Why did the scribes and chief priests want to arrest Jesus
for telling
>the parable of the vineyard & wicked tenants (Lk.20:9-19)? It was just a
story, wasn't
> Note that this doesn't at all answer the question of whether or not any
>given account is historically accurate, fictional, or some combination of
the two. My
>only pont here is that truth can be conveyed by other means than accurate
>narrative, sometimes by accounts which look superficially like historical
narrative, &
>that the Bible does in fact use such techniques.

I don't disagree that truth can be conveyed via fiction. But that doesn't
mean anything about a particular passage. Genesis 6-9 appears historical to
me. Why is it that when we have some difficulty with science, we quickly
retreat to a position which can not be falsified at all? to me that is a
cop out.

>> If the writer of Genesis had said that, you would have a case, but he
>> didn't. And I can easily understand the preface in the Gospel accounts and
>> I note that one is lacking in Genesis 6. When you said in your book that
>> God worked in history to save Noah and his family, you either used history
>> in a funny way, or God didn't work in history. Historical events leave
>> evidence of themselves (even if only temporary); non-historical events
>> don't. And the evidence must be consistent with the account.
> Again, I have no problem saying that there are historical elements behind
>biblical flood story. But that is not the same as saying that the whole
thing is
>accurate historical narrative.

But you appear to have a problem that would reject any and every scenario
that might match the details of the account. If we can find a scenario
that matches both the details and the science, why must we automatically
say it is false. Tell me what detail my view violates. You may not like
the timing of it, and there isn't verification of certain aspects of my
thesis, but there is no falsification that I am aware of.

>> On 8/17 you wrote:
>> >>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 crucial.
>> Tell me this. Why can't a Mormon claim that his book is 'true' but
>> non-historical and support his religion in the same fashion you do
>> Christianity? And by doing so, the Mormon can escape the problem that
>> horses were not on North America prior to 1492, that there were no chariots
>> on North America, and that there is no evidence of Jews here either. But
>> of course the devout Mormon will say that he doesn't care that the details
>> of his book have been exaggerated a bit. Why couldn't the Mormon simply say
>> (paraphrasing you):
>> The fact that a lot of the details in the resulting account don't fit with
>> the lack of horses,chariots and Jews in North America - as you have often
>> argued, & note in the following - is far from crucial.
>> Thus we can conclude that Mormonism is as valid as traditional
> The Book of Mormon isn't just wrong in details. Its entire scenario from
>beginning to end fails to match what we know of pre-Columbian America. I
have never
>remotely suggested that everything in the Bible can be treated as fiction.
I think
>there are few if any competent historians today of any religion who would
deny that
>Israelites lived in Palestine in the first millenium B.C.E., that they
>Yahweh, that Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 B.C., that
Jesus of
>Nazareth was an historical figure who was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
that Paul of
>Tarsus wrote the Letter to the Romans - just to mention a few important
>Furthermore, there is evidence for the existence of all the writings of
the Old and New
>Testaments by the end of the 2d century C.E. (& for some much earlier).
There is no
>comparable evidence for anything in the Book of Mormon (except for the
parts cribbed
>from the Bible), & there is no evidence at all for the existence of the
gold plates upon
>which it was supposedly written before the 19th century (by which I don't
mean to
>suggest that there is _good_ evidence for them after that). So the
supposed parallels
>are non-existent.

We agree on this. You have proven my point that you also use science and
history to verify the Bible. But you seem to want to limit how much
verification we should have--only so much verification but not too much. I
want as much verification as I can get. I don't understand your reluctance
to search for more verification. If it is good that the Bible matches Near
Eastern history, why wouldn't it be better if it matched geological history
also? Why wouldn't it be better if we could find Abraham's house in Ur? Or
Noah's ark (which I do not think will ever be found, but if it were, I
would welcome it) Why do you only want partial verification from science
and history rather than verifying more details?

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