Re: Lack of Apologetical predictions

Glenn R. Morton (
Sat, 07 Nov 1998 10:46:18 -0600

Hi George,

At 08:47 AM 11/7/98 -0500, George Murphy wrote:
> For YECs who are coming to realize that that view doesn't work but who
>still think that Scripture can be true only as historical narrative, your
>approach may be the best way to keep them from apostasizing. But that is
>because it has to be accomodated to their rather limited idea of Scripture.

Yes, and don't forget that it is my limited view of scripture also. :-) I
just don't believe in telling the Emporer that his clothes are pretty, when
he is butt-ugly naked. If I must believe in allegory anytime there is a
problem between science and scripture, then my religion can't lose. It is a
zero-loss game which wins every time. Such a religion is nothing but
fideism, belief supporting itself with ad hoc props of allegory.

>> Context is not prediction. What specifically does theology say about
>> geology, not the context. What you are describing is epistemology, not
>> geology.
> Obviously I didn't make myself sufficiently clear. While there are indeed
>testable statements about history which arise from theology, I do not
think that
>its primary function is to make scientific predictions. Setting the
larger context is
>a crucial function.

I fully agree with you that the Bible's purpose is not to make scientific
predictions, but it can't help itself. And as I told one atheist on
another list, If one is to believe unverifiable things, like the
resurrection, which is related to us in a document--the Bible-- we should
ensure that those statments made by the document which ARE verifiable, are
indeed VERIFIED. To then avoid the consequences of a false prediction, by
means of allegory or non-historicity or deeper truth, shortcircuits this

> This is not "epistemology" because theology doesn't tell scientists how to
>do science. It is _theology_, which is a discipline in its own right.

Epistemology is a priori both to science and to theology.

> Let me repeat: I am NOT saying that there is no history in the Bible, that
>it's all theological fiction, or anything like that. I believe that there
is a lot of
>historical narrative, and a lot of accurate historical, geographical,
>biographical &c information. But it is not all material of that sort. &
so the
>interpretation of Scripture and comparison of what it says with the real
world is more
>complicated than just saying "The Bible predicts A & we find A so the
Bible is true."
>You may have to say "The Bible predicts B _if we read it as straight
>narrative_ & we don't find B so maybe this part of the Bible _isn't_
straight historical

We agree here. What we disagree on is the nature of one part of the
Scripture which I think must have more history than you do.

>> Not necessarily, the image you have is a cultural image of maggots. Maggots
>> have been used to treat gangrene for millenia in folk medicine. Maggots in
>> those contexts are very good.
> Yeh, but those who use them don't want to be maggots. Leeches have been
>for a long time in medicine but being called a leech isn't a compliment.

I could have used any animal. You miss the point. The non-historical
approach has no ability to say that any theological/primal myth is false.
All stories are true. I could have used unicorns rather than maggots and
you still would have no basis upon which to day that the story was false.

>> No, my basic problem is that I want to avoid tautological belief systems.
>> And I would say that the Disciples themselves grounded their belief system
>> on something other than jesus himself.
> Of course when I say "Christ" I mean the whole "Christ event" - born,
>healing, crucified, & risen.
>> They grounded it on the physical
>> evidence they were privileged to observe. They touched, saw and heard the
>> Resurrected Jesus. They didn't simply believe things because they believed
>> things. And Thomas was the worst one because he claimed he wouldn't believe
>> without that evidence.
>> John 20: 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with
>> them when Jesus came.
>> 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But
>> he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails,
>> and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his
>> side, I will not believe.
>> I do not believe I am doing anything different from what Thomas did. And I
>> think Thomas was the most rational fo the disciples.
> You cut the text short!
>John 20:29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen
me? Blessed are
>those who have not seen and yet believe."

That doesn't mean that Thomas wasn't a Christian.

> Sure, Thomas is rational. & he is not the only one who doubted, & Jesus
>accepts those who have doubts (Mt.28:17). But through Thomas Jesus tells
us that we -
>i.e., later generations who are called to faith - are not going to have
the kind of
>evidence that Thomas demanded. We have the apostolic witness brought to
us in
>Scripture. We have enough historical evidence &c for it to be _possible_
to believe -
>i.e., Jesus really lived, Pilate was governor, there is a real city of
>crucifixion was a common means of execution, &c. But we are _not_ told to
>believe until we can gather enough evidence to _prove_ that the one who
was crucified
>rose. We are dependent upon the biblical witness. As the Barmen
Declaration puts it,
>"Jesus Christ _as he is attested to us in Holy Scripture_ [my emphasis] is
the one Word
>we have to hear in life and in death."

I agree with all you say above, but with the Flood, there is a definite way
to verify by the methods of modern science one of the stories in Scripture.
With the Exodus, there should be some archaeological evidence, but there
isn't any.


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