Re: Apologetics and Gen 1-11
Sun, 8 Nov 1998 00:52:09 EST

Hi Glenn,

In a message dated 11/7/98 6:04:29 PM Pacific Standard Time, you say

<< 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.>>

If the eyewitness testimony is written down by an historian and carefully
preserved (which the NT documents were), they do not lose validity with age.

<< Apologetics should be designed to support the central tenent of
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. >>

I am saying that the resurrection of Christ is the most important thing that
shows the superiority of Christianity to all other religions. What objective
evidence is there that he rose? Eyewitness accounts indirectly reported by
Luke, Paul and others. There is nothing circular about it. It is the same
historical methodology used to support a belief in any ancient historical


<< 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.>>

There are a number of different answers to the objection that Jesus was just a
nut or a charlatan and his disciples were as deceived as the disciples of nuts
and charlatans today. For one thing the quality of the teachings of Jesus have
been generally acknowledge as superior even by unbelievers. For another, nuts
and charlatans only have a passing cult following. How many people 200 years
from now will even know the name of J. Jones, Rev. Moon, or Cy much less be
followers? How about 2000 years from now? And, where is their power to turn
sinners into saints? The Church gets a lot of bad press from the world, much
of it earned; but, the enormous amount of good the Church does goes

<<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.>>

There are a lot more things in Gen 1-11 than the genealogies. And the genre
of Genesis 1-11 is not parable (nor allegory), although parable is
functionally what they are for us. They are proto-historical writings with a
theological apologetical intent. From a divine point of view they are
contextualized for the communication of a supra-cultural message. What you are
not seeing is their ancient Near Eastern background. I will explicate this
more fully in a forthcoming paper and send it to you off list. The true
nature of these chapters is the answer that will allow you to slip between the
horns of your dilemma (history or myth?).

In Christ,

Paul Seely