Re: Descendants of Wolves, Bovines and Adam

Glenn R. Morton (
Tue, 17 Nov 1998 20:35:44 -0800

Hi Greg,
At 07:51 PM 11/17/98 -0600, Robin Mandell wrote:
>At 06:50 PM 11/17/98 -0800, you wrote:
>>As I have said before this is a 'Heads I win; Tails you lose" type of
>>apologetic. Heads the Bible is true; Tails, the Bible is true. Such an
>>apologetic does lead to the Bible being true but only true in a trivial way.
> I am not sure yet where I sit on the historical trustworthiness of Gen.
>but I sense a problem in locking in like you are here.It is possible that
>the "truths" we really care about in Genesis stand with or without the
>flood being historical simply because they are in fact true regardless of
>how much God decided to intervene in the cosmology and language of the
>author.What you said seems too close to boxing God in and making rules
>about his method of revelation.Again,a part of me is with you on this I
>just think we should stay fluid in such a troubled spot.I know it sounds
>like we are hedging are bets so that our faith becomes so diconnected from
>history and science that we are unassailable but I suspect there is more to
>it than evasion.Didn't mean to jump in the middle especially as I too
>admire the clear thoght and work you have put into all this plus you even
>took the time to write me and answer my questions which was very
>encouraging.thanks greg>

Let me assure you that my 'locking in' was not done by whimsy. I have
studied this area for almost 30 years looking for solutions. The problem I
have is that we apply one standard of truth to the real world and another
to religion. Cases in point. No one would say that the Ptolemaic system is
scientifically false, but communicated the truths that Ptolemy wanted to
deliver to us. No one would say that panspermia (the genetic inheritance
theory that Darwin believed in) was scientifically false, but it told us
great truths of the biological realm. No one would say that the ether (the
stuff through which light was supposed to travel) is scientifically false,
but presents a beautiful picture of light's relationship with the universe.

But, in religion we will gladly say The first chapters of Genesis are
historically false, but they present beautiful truths of Gods relationship
with man.

Now, the obvious out is to say that religion is a different realm of
knowledge than science and the rules are different. But this can be shown
to be a very weak argument and position because it leaves us without any
basis to criticize other religions. We Christians are told to be consistent
in the way we judge things. By the standard we judge we will be judged
(Matt. 7). A case in point:

I have criticized the Book of Mormon for the following fallacies--

It has horses in the New World prior to Columbus--no evidence for that
It has chariots in the New World when the Americans didn't invent the wheel
It attempts to sound like King James English when it was writen 300 years
It says Jews were in the New World when there is no evidence of them.

I can with consistency criticize the Book of Mormon because I hold the
Bible to the very same standard--it must match history.

But if you take the other approach and hold that TRUTHS are all that is
needed you can't criticize the Book of Mormon and remain consistent.

If you believe that the Bible can be non-historical but TRUE, then you must
(by consistency) extend that courtesy to other books of religion. By that
rule, the Book of Mormon, can be non-historical (no horses) but still be a
true revelation of God. This leaves one with no criteria by which to say
another religion is false. The Mormon can say that the chariots were
images of God carrying us through our troubles and the horses were the
angels that cared for us. Bingo! The Book of Mormon is TRUE, even though it
is historically false.

Is this the standard of truth we wish to live by? I don't. I'll go be an
atheist before I live by that kind of standard.

For those who would respond to this, I have a question. WHAT FACT WOULD
CONVINCE YOU THAT THE BIBLE ISN'T TRUE? Don't get me wrong, I do believe
the Bible is true, but it must be true in a REAL sense, not a trivial sense
in which anything it says is true regardless of what it is. Mao Tse Dong
was never wrong. Every thing he said was TRUE. Stalin was never wrong;
everything he said was TRUE. But they were correct ONLY in the most
trivial of manners. If there is no fact that would convince one that the
Bible is not true, then they have an unassailable faith. A faith everybit
as unassailable as the faith of Mao's and Stalin's sycophants. But it is
also a faith that can't be tested. Nothing could possibly be false.

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