Re: Apologetics and Gen 1-11

Glenn R. Morton (
Sat, 07 Nov 1998 20:06:44 -0600

Hi Paul,

At 05:18 PM 11/7/98 EST, wrote:
> at 11/6/98 2:30:04 PM Pacific Standard Time you wrote,
>>> So unless you have some actual physical evidence (not testimony) of the
>resurretion, I am unable to use it as the foundation for apologetics.<<

>Eyewitness testimony is an objective foundation; and historians see it as
>fundamental to the construction of history. In your first book you speak
>several times of the necessity for believing your own eyes. And you were
>referring to scientific data which needs more interpretation than directly
>seeing a person who had been killed and buried, talking with him and eating
>with him (Luke 24:36-43). And Luke, being a physician, had the finest
>scientific training in the ancient world and employed it with the heightening
>power of divine inspiration to write an accurate account based on eye-
>witnesses (Luke 1:1-4). Eye witnesses provide an objective foundation. You
>can build an apologetic upon it. Paul does so in I Cor 15; and many have
>since then.

I agree with you that for Paul, Luke etc, their eyewitness testimony is
important both for those of their day as well as us today. But, the value
of eyewitness testimony decreases with the passage of time. The most
powerful use of eyewitness testimony belongs to them, however, and not to
us. We have to have faith that they were correct in their assertions about
the resurrection without seeing their eyes, without seeing their body
language and without knowing of their personal relationships which is also
a way to judge another person's credibility.

But today, without that as a basis, we have to depend upon the
trustworthiness of the disciples. And given some modern examples of the
ability of disciples to discern things, I don't think eyewitness testimony
has the same force that it did in the first century. Koresh's followers and
Jim Jones followers would have told you they were great people. The
followers of Moon suspect he is God and they believe it. Can I trust their
eye-witness testimony to Moon's goodness? If I can't trust their testimony,
how can one automatically give credence to a group of people that lived
2000 years ago. I am not saying that I don't believe the testimony or the
resurrection (I want to make that clear). But I am saying it is a lousy
basis for apologetics.

Remember my fried Cy, that I told you about? I haven't heard you answer
this one, so I will throw it out for the group. For those who don't know,
back when I was in the midst of my crisis of faith, David Koresh and his
followers burned up at Mt. Carmel. The next Sunday, a guy I had known for
about 10 years and had gone to church with, at two different churchs, gave
his testimony to the youth group the next week. It seems that Cy, when he
had been in college, thought he was the Messiah. He had even gathered a
small following of people who believed him! His family got him committed
which aborted his messianic mission. What struck me in all this was the
fact that a man with a false claim can be believed even today. Needless to
say, this testimony didn't help me during my crisis.

> In Gary Habermas' debate with Antony Flew over the reality of the
>resurrection he employed that objective basis to win the debate in the
eyes of
>an unbiased panel. On the other side, where is the eyewitness testimony
>did not rise? There is none.

This is a logical fallacy. One can't prove a negative especially from a
distance. A missing body does not necessarily prove resurrection. If it
does, then the Dallas county morgue has experienced a few resurrections.

>All the evidence is on the side of
>Christianity. The only refutation unbelievers have is to adopt by carnal
>faith the presupposition that miracles do not happen. And that is begging

That may be, but it isn't up to them to refute the resurrection. It is up
to us to support it apologetically. I wish you would answer the question I
put out in the last post about buidling apologetics. Apologetics should
be designed to support the central tenent of Christianity--the
resurrection. But if one says that the resurrection is the basis of all
apologetics, and then builds an apologetic that supports the resurrection,
that also is begging the question. One has already assumed that which was
to be supported. This is a theological form of Escher's Waterfall.

>>>Existential foundations are merely subjective…but that was all it
>It can and should be more. Eg., although the angel and the Spirit
speaking to
>Philip (Acts 8:26, 29) was a subjective experience to him, by obeying, he
>an objective connection with the eunuch reading Isa and wondering what it
>meant--which connection in itself should reasonably build faith; and then the
>eunuch was converted and baptized--which again would and should build faith.
>The subjective experience when obeyed has objective results.

Absolutely agree with you, but those objective results should be subject to
verification. And if they are falsified, then we should have the courage to
say that the subjective experience didn't happen.

> I know the unbiblical rationalistic
>doctrine that divine inspiration guarantees historical and scientific
>inerrancy so that our Father supposedly could not have spoken to little
>children in their own little world has resulted in false expectations from
>Genesis 1-11; and those false expectations can be unsettling when they are
>proven false.

I agree that when false expectations are discovered, it is unsettling. I
just find it odd to then say, in spite of the fact that it is false, I will
find some truth in it (truth which can't be verified) and thus make the
story believeable again. We should have the courage to say it is false
rather than that it is believable. This is like the preacher who is caught
in adultry saying that what he was doing wasn't sin because he is a holy
preacher. And everyone agreeing that the preacher is holy. To me, (I keep
saying this) this is a zero-loss game. Heads I win, tails you lose. The
preacher can't be unholy no matter what he does. What kind of sense does
that make? If the Bible has no possibility of being wrong, it has no
possibility of being true.

And I would say that it is not JUST the advocates of historicity that can
find things wrong in their view points and then find it unsettling to the
point of denying the data. (see yalad below)

>Even if you have to hold to the rationalistic definition of the Bible, Gen
>1-11 is a different genre than even Gen 12-50 much less modern history.

What is the difference in style between Genesis 5, 10 or 11 and the
genealogies in Chronicles? What specifically marks those chapters as
parable and a 'different genre'? To me the only thing that I see that
marks it as a different genre is that people don't believe it. Thus, it
follows that it MUST be a different genre. But with yalad (which means give
birth) the style is always the same.

Here is Genesis 10:26 in Hebrew:

26 . yoqtan yalad 'almowdad

And here is 1 Chron 1:32

34 . 'abraham yalad yitschaq

And here is Nehemiah 1:11

11 . yowyada' yalad yehownathan .

Where is the difference in style everyone talks about? What I see are a
name, yalad [begat] and a name. Same style. Same meaning. We believe two,
we disbelieve the other. Two are historical; one is in a 'different genre'
which can't be defined here by these Hebrew phrases. That is inconsistent.
If you believe one, what OBJECTIVE criteria can you give from the Hebrew
that says Genesis 10:26 doesn't relate the birth of a real individual,


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