Re: Something must change

George Murphy (
Sat, 22 Aug 1998 17:39:57 -0400

Glenn R. Morton wrote:
> At 07:43 AM 8/22/98 -0400, George Murphy wrote:
> >Glenn R. Morton wrote: .............................
> You miss my point. Clinton IS real and the troubles he has ACTUALLY occur.
> So why can you automatically rule out the existence of a Good Samaritan? I
> am trying to point out that your example about the Good Samaritan is a poor
> one.

I am not automatically ruling it out but saying that it
makes absolutely no difference to the way in functions in the gospel
whether or not it is historical.
Again, your persistence along this line indicates that you
really would feel better if the Good Samaritan were historical, & that
the truth conveyed by it is in some way inferior if it isn't.

> >> But Genesis 11
> >> and Genesis 5 consists largely of genealogies. What possible
> >> 'metaphorical' message could be conveyed by such a list of names. The
> >> relationships listed are either historically true or they are historically
> >> false. And I can see little of theological significance in a list of names.
> >> > ........................................ I think the latter
> comment in more indicative of your unwillingness
> > to see theological significance in anything that doesn't consist of
> > dogmatic propositions. The genealogy of Mt.1, e.g., is clearly there
> > to show the connection of the Messiah with Abraham. The genealogies
> > of Gen.5 & 11 serve the function of stating that there is some
> > continuity between the origination of the world & the beginning of
> > the story of Abraham, with which (from a modern standpoint) we begin
> > to get into more clearly historical material. The genealogy of Lk.3
> > takes up both concerns together.
> But if these people are not real, then there is in REALITY NO connection
> between the Beginning of the world and Abraham or even Christ!

Well, no. If the story of creation is told in terms other than
historical narrative, the form of a genealogy could still be used to
indicate that there is continuity between creation and - say - Abraham.
I.e., if for the sake of argument Adam is simply a symbol of the first
human, then the genealogy beginning with him & running to Abraham, or
Christ, shows that Abraham, or Christ, is a participant in the common
humanity represented by Adam. The unity of the human race, & Christ's
solidarity with it, are hardly trivial themes.

> >> > ...................................
> >

> I have never made the claim that one must treat every apparently universal
> statment must be taken to imply absolutely everybody. I have heard you note
> that the universal statements in Genesis 6-9 don't mean the entire world.
> the phrase "everybody is going to the party' is conditional universal, not
> unconditional universal. Same thing goes with Jonah. If you now switch and
> say that universal statements like the one (I still don't see) in Jonah
> mean that ALL humans in Ninevah wore sackcloth, then you must be consistent
> and admit that the young-earthers are correct that the Bible teaches that
> ALL the mountains under the entire Heaven were covered with water. And if
> that is the case, they you can no longer tell a YEC that the Bible doesn't
> teach a global universal flood, because by your use of the term you are
> advocating unconditional universal. You must also then claim that ALL
> nations including American Indians came to eat grain in Egypt when Joseph
> was there. I don't believe either Jonah or the claims in Genesis 6-9 are
> universal in the sense you are claiming.

I apologize for not making this clearer - I was in a rush
this morning. What I'm saying about Jonah isn't dependent upon 100%
of the Ninevites repenting. The phrase "from the least of them to
the greatest" clearly means the whole sweep of the population, even
if a few were recalcitrant. The king repented & in that kind of
society the rule was pretty much _cujus regio, ejus religio_, as has
been the case even more recently. & part of the force of the story
is the contrast between the grudging, minimal proclamation of Jonah
& the wholesale repentance of the city. Again, that doesn't have to
mean that literally everyone repented.
So what? Whether 90% or 100%, there is no archaological or
historical evidence that the capital of the Assyrian Empire was
converted to belief in Yahweh at this time in history. It didn't
become the state religion, as the king's conversion might lead us to
Of course that doesn't _prove_ that this didn't happen. &
no matter how complete a series of Assyrian chronicles we dig up, you
can continue to claim that there's no proof that it didn't really
happen. My question is, at what point would the lack of evidence
lead you to consider the possibility that Jonah - while certainly
canonical, inspired, & true - is not historical narrative?

> but my position is not inconsistent.

It's consistent, but it forces the Bible into your preconceived
categories. I.e., it's true so it must be history.

> There was a Ninevah, there was a
> king, there was a Jonah (2 King 14:25) there was a Tarshish, there were
> ships at the time Jonah lived, there were big fish and I do believe there
> was at least a temporary repentence. Do we have the Nenevah gazette as
> evidence? No.

I note again that you ignore the statement that the _animals_
"shall be covered with sackcloth, and that they shall cry mightily
to God." This is a wonderful touch of exaggerated Jewish humor, the
inclusion of which is as good as a statement, "This is fiction."
You can certainly be consistent if you want & picture all (or 90% of)
the Ninevites dressing their cattle & donkeys & sheep in sackcloth if
you wish. How about it?
(Because some Christian take themselves so seriously, someone
is likely to accuse me of making fun of the Bible here. I'm not. I
think this aspect of the Bible is delightful. But it's a great
temptation to make fun of some interpretations of the Bible.)

George L. Murphy