Re: Something must change

Glenn R. Morton (
Sun, 23 Aug 1998 16:35:27 -0500

At 12:31 PM 8/23/98 -0400, George Murphy wrote:
>Glenn R. Morton wrote:
>> We agree that Christ's inclusion and descent from the first adam are not
>> trivial themes. That makes it all the more important that it be a real (but
>> not necessarily complete) genealogy. It seems very difficult to me to see
>> how it helps to have a false pedigree to prove relationship (like the
>> Japanese emporer tracing his descent from the Sun God).
> There is a human race, & such a genealogy, whether or not
> historically accurate, is one way of stating a person's full solidarity
> with the human race. There is no sun god.

Well, my atheist friends would say the same thing about Jehovah. Luke 3:38
ends the genealogy of Jesus with:

Luke 3:38 "Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was
the son of Adam, which was the son of God."

While I agree with you that there is no sun god and I share our common
belief in Jehovah, but one certainly can't miss the obvious parallel. To me
the only out to the implications of the parallel is that the events
described in Genesis are real.

And remember this, if naturalistic evolution is true, there was no Adam and
Eve. By this I mean that there was never a time in which there were only 2
persons on earth. The first humans were a population, not two individuals.
So, the genealogy in Luke is totally erroneous when it claims to trace the
genealogy back to a man, Adam, who was not the son of God as Luke says. If
there is not some kind of break in human genealogy, in the fashion that I
have suggested, then Adam, was the son of well... not God. In this case,
this solidarity with the human race is also solidarity with the horse, the
fish and the invertebrates. And if God did insert a spirit/soul into an
ape at some point, then why can't the creator of the universe, who has all
that power at his disposal, not simply ensure that some simple, and easily
understandable statement be written by the writer that He was supposedly
inspiring? If God's inspiration is no better or stronger than the
inspiration received by a man contemplating a beautiful lady, it isn't much
in the way of absolute metaphysical truth.

> I reject the claim that only propositions convey truth, on
> the authority of Jesus, who tells stories. You said above that we
> were through with the Good Samaritan. Alas, we're not. If you
> really think that truth can be conveyed only by propositions which
> can be checked "against a backdrop of data", stop being coy about
> the parable and state clearly that you demand that it be historically
> accurate.

Here is the root of our differences. Only propositions convey objective,
verifiable truth. Non-propositional statements can be understood in many
ways with no means of determining that we have even understood what the
'truth' is. "There is nothing so beautiful as a tree". That is
non-propositional and it is true. But to I tell my wife that she is uglier
than a tree? Afterall, the truth that a tree is the most beautiful object
means my wife must play 2nd fiddle. And I will tell you that if we could
clearly determine non-propositional truth, we would have far fewer
denominations. Many of the church splits are due to interpretations
involving the parables. Some theologians see a parable in one way others in
another way. Tell me. How do I tell which of you theologians is correct
when they are mutually incompatible but both claim to understand the
'meaning' of a parable? What is the test to determine the real truth? All
of you are theologians and you all are mutually contradictory. If we can
determine the truth, of nonpropositional statements, we should surely be
able to determine exactly what that truth is, and I don't see how it can be

> The Lord of the Rings conveys some truth in a way it wouldn't
> if it ended up with Sauron winning. One reason (I don't say the only
> reason) great literature is great is that it tells us things that are
> true about the human condition. Homer can tell us a lot about ourselves,
> whether or not Achilles, or Odysseus, or Agammenon, ever lived.

But there is a big difference between Homer, and Tolkein. They make no
demands that I behave in a particular way. The bible does. This makes the
Bible different from those books. In Homer, if I emulate the Greek Gods,
then I can live however I want and be as deviant as I want.

> You miss the point of this plot element & have written several
> sentences without answering the question: Do you think all (or 90%)
> of the animals of Nineveh were covered in sackcloth and commanded to
> cry mightily to God? Is that historically accurate?

Do you have extrabiblical evidence that say that this didn't happen at the
time specified? I would doubt it. While the people obviously didn't
become Jewish, there is nothing to say they didn't engage in a strange
ritual ordered by their king.

Given some of the customs that I have read about in the past 3 years of
anthropological research, I really wouldn't be surprised if they really did
put sackcloth on their animals or at least were ordered to. Polynesians
suckle pigs at their breasts. Ainu and some siberian tribes catch a bear
cub and destine him to be sacrificed. The cub is suckled by the village
women and is taken to bed with them at night until it gets too large. When
the bear is sacrificed, men kiss it before it is executed. Have you never
seen a person put a sweator on a dog? Down here, putting a red or blue
bandana on a labrador retriever seems to be the fad. I am sure it isn't
done so that the dogs can see and be seen by other dogs. I have heard that
the ancient Israelites pour blood on a goat, but this incredible custom may
not actually have happened because it would appear incredulous to 20th
century people. Can you imagine pouring blood on a goat and then letting
him go into the wilderness?

Some tribes pass out the bones of a dead chief so that they can be worn as
amulets. The black man taken along with the Lewis and Clark expedition
found himself in great favor with the Souix ladies. It seems that the men
thought that if he had sex with their women, they would pick up some of his
strength when they later had sex with their wives.

New Guinean religious customs are such that I would be embarrassed to
repeat some of them here but I will tell you they are quite unbelievable.
So your unbelief about what a Ninevite would or wouldn't do is not
particularly relevant. As I said, if you can show documentary data that
says no animal wore a sackcloth, then you might have a case but all I see
is your incredulousness.

And as for me, I really don't know enough of the customs of Ninevah to say
it is out of the question. And if a king ordered me to do it back then
(kings back then were mean. Herodotus reports of a king who made his prime
minister eat the minister's son for dinner), I most assuredly would have
bought the prettiest sackcloth available.

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