Re: Grapenuts, anyone?

Howard J. Van Till (
Thu, 11 Feb 1999 15:52:08 -0500

Moorad writes:

"I agree with most of what you wrote. However, your last statement (5) is
where the rub is. It is true that God could have devised things in such a
fashion that all would develop from non-living to living by natural means.
If it is so, why isn't it so written in Scripture? Scripture seems to
indicate more of an abrupt creation of man rather than a continuos process.
That is my puzzle."

Brief comments on some very large issues:

1. Be careful with statements like, "Scripture seems to indicate.... " Your
reading of "abrupt creation" is itself dependent on adopting a hermeneutic
that would be strongly contested by numerous biblical scholars. Frankly, I
think it indefensible to read early Genesis as a _chronicle_ that gives
answers to what-happened-and-when questions.

2. The Scriptures were written in the conceptual vocabularies of the
Ancient Near East and the Early Roman cultures. We easily forget that when
we read only modern English translations, but I see no reasonable way to
contest that fact. Therefore, one must ask whether or not it is likely, or
even conceivable, that a statement such as my (5) could have been expressed
in that conceptual vocabulary. I think it most unlikely.

3. Let me try something a bit more provocative. Perhaps it is high time
that we Christians also consider that the Scriptures were written within
the limits of the human knowledge of the writers. Not only were their
conceptual vocabularies limited by their placement in particular cultures,
but their particular knowledge of the universe was limited by their
placement in history. Hence we read nothing of galaxies, quasars, atoms,
molecules, etc. Similarly, our finding nothing in the Scritpures about
evolutionary development of life forms over billions of years should come
as no surprise whatsoever.

Howard Van Till