Re: Apologetics, Genesis, and C.S. Lewis

Robin Mandell (
Mon, 23 Nov 1998 12:05:33 -0600

At who knows what time after reading what these fellows wrote
Andrew wrote

At 10:54 AM 11/23/98 -0500, George Murphy wrote:
> wrote:
>> In what is perhaps the least cited of all C.S. Lewis's popular books,
>> Reflections on the Psalms, he has a wonderfully insightful chapter on the
>> development of Scripture in general. He distances himself from those who
>> insist on historical and scientific factuality by using an analogy with the
>> part of the Quicunque Vult (Athanasian Creed) which affirms the
>> "I have therefore no difficulty in accepting, say, the view of those
>> who tell us that the account of Creation in Genesis is derived from earlier
>> Semitic stories which were Pagan and mythical [p.110]...For we are
taught that
>> the Incarnation itself proceeded "not by the conversion of the godhead into
>> flesh, but by taking of (the) manhood into God"; in it human life
becomes the
>> vehicle of Divine life. If the Scriptures proceed not by conversion of
>> word into a literature but by taking up of a literature to be the
vehicle of
>> God's word, this is not anomalous [p.116]"
> One reason some Christians have trouble with such ideas is a belief that
>"inspiration" is possible only if the work of the Spirit is _unmediated_.
But that is
>not, in fact, the way the Spirit generally works. Instead of zapping
people directly
>from heaven, the Spirit normally works through Word and sacraments. (Note
>of course the Spirit is free.) If the Holy Spirit can use mundane
physical elements &
>less than perfect preachers, it shouldn't be too surprising if pagan myths
&c were
>utilized in salvation history. If, e.g., ideas about resurrection or
angels come into
>latter stages of the Old Testament via Persian influence, that doesn't
mean they aren't
> At the same time, it should be noted that the biblical writers don't simply
>swallow pagan myths whole. They alter them as they need to in order to
fit them to
>speaking about the God of Israel. Thus Scripture has what Brevard Childs
calls "broken
>myths" like Isaiah 14:12-14. In the biblical context this is no longer a
Canaanite myth
>of an assault on the abode of the gods part of a taunt song against
Babylon. The common
>Christian interpretation of it as referring to the fall of Satan is
actually a
>_re_mythologizing of the text.
These two last exchanges are very clear and helpful.Maybe another reason
many believers have reservations about going here is that it seems so many
cross quickly from faith and possibilities to arrogance and scissors. Once
one jumps in and confidently identifies the "nonfactual elements" in the
bible, usually tagged as anywhere the stationary book doesn't line up with
the moving science,it seems to unravel from there.(I realize you aren't
saying exactly that) Some find Noah mythical (I lean that way myself)
others find ressurections or sin mythical.It seems to me difficult for some
to see that is not where you will end up with this.Again I agree with much
here but how do you calm the fears of those who don't see such a clear
division between historical truth and inspired truth.Surely you can
understand their misunderstanding here. >
>George L. Murphy