I have often written popular articles about advanced topics in physics. My
aim has always been to make it simple for the one that knows no physics but
write it carefully enough for the one that knows a lot of physics. I
believe that it is in this sense that Genesis is written. From the article
one cannot deduce the knowledge of the writer. However, if one had all the
knowledge, then the article would not contradict any of it.
From: Vandergraaf, Chuck <email@example.com>
To: 'Howard J. Van Till' <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: ASA Listserve <email@example.com>
Date: Thursday, February 11, 1999 6:07 PM
Subject: RE: Grapenuts, anyone?
>Re: your third point:
>> 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
>> 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.
>I can live with part of your "provocative" argument. Undoubtedly, the
>writers of Scripture were limited by their understanding of the universe.
>Probably more to the point, they had to deal with the limitations of their
>audience/readers (for example, the apostle John's description of his
>on Patmos may well have been limited by the availability of the words and
>concepts at that time). That would put the authors in the same predicament
>as we would be if we want to explain television to an aboriginal who has no
>concept of this technology (maybe a bad example, but you get my idea).
>However, when we read a detailed description of what appears to us
>that the early readers of / listeners to Genesis should have been able to
>grasp, we run into problems.
>Let's just take the creation of Eve "from Adam's rib." Assuming for the
>moment that "Adam" and "Eve"can be identified as individuals and "rib" is a
>piece of bone that protects the upper innards of a human body, and "deep
>sleep" is what we call it today, what are we to make out of this? Is this
>the best the author could come up with to convey a historic event to the
>reader/listener? Is there something wrong with the translation? Is it
>allegorical? Are we missing the point? What is the point? Why was it even
>To me, this has little to do with a knowledge of galaxies, neutrons, or
>photons. Am I missing something?
>T.T. (Chuck) Vandergraaf
>Engineered Barriers and Analysis Branch
>Pinawa, MB R0E 1L0
>*(204) 753-2311 xt. 2592