Re: Something must change

Allan Harvey (
Fri, 21 Aug 1998 08:48:31 -0600

At 09:44 PM 8/20/98 -0500, Glenn R. Morton wrote:

> This gets
>to the argument that nearly drove me to atheism and is why I fight so hard
>for historicity!!!!!!!!!! This is crucial and if anyone can offer an out to
>this, I would be very appreciative. This is my variation on an argument
>advanced by Lactantius who attributed the argument to Epicurus (ca. 300 B.C.)
>It starts with the question, Why would God NOT give us a true history of
>the Flood? There are only 4 possibilities:
>1. He is willing and able. Thus it is a true/historical message.
>2. He is unwilling and able. Thus He is telling us something not true and
> He knows it is untrue. Very unGodlike; very scary.
>3. He is willing and unable. Very unGodlike.
>4. He is unwilling and unable. -really bad option.

This dichotomy (4-chotomy, I guess) is still based on the *assumption*
that "not historical chronicle" equals "not true". What many of us have
been trying to point out is that limiting God to our own preconceptions
of how he must communicate "truth" is the source of many problems. In
terms of the 4 categories, we need to recognize that #2 (unwilling and
able) is not so bad -- it just means that God in his wisdom knew that a
non-chronicle expression of his message would serve his readers better
than a message in the form of a modern history or science text.

Glenn, think about applying this same 4-chotomy to Jesus's parable of the
Good Samaritan. You either end up requiring it to be a chronicle of an
actual historical event (which, while not impossible, is a ridiculous
restriction to place on Jesus's teaching style), or you end up with an
"unGodlike" Jesus. This absurd result should make you question the
validity of the 4-chotomy as you phrase it.

| Dr. Allan H. Harvey | |
| Physical and Chemical Properties Division | "Don't blame the |
| National Institute of Standards & Technology | government for what I |
| 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80303 | say, or vice versa." |