Re: Perspectives
Sat, 24 Apr 1999 04:21:32 EDT

Bert wrote:

<< "Let me propose a protocol for understanding Genesis:

1. God would not say something not accurate.
That is, he would not say that the Earth is flat.

2. He would speak to the people at the time in words they could understand.
He would not talk about the general relativity space time theorem requiring a
beginning to time.

3. His woulds would be timeless.
They, even if viewed as mystical by peoples of the time, would be eventually
viewed as objectively accurate in the future.

4. They would be from a perspective an listener would understand at the time
The events would be described as visually seen and not given in some abstract
argot of physics.

5. The real message is about who and not how but the story describes the
God and his relationship to man and explains our origins and does so
He is giving man a great piece of information as to mans origins and


The main point I can agree with is point 5 provided that "accurately" does
not include the descriptions of natural science. Or to put it another way,
the main point I disagree with is point 1.

I see no biblical reason to believe that God would not accommodate his
revelation to the ordinary scientific opinions of the times. Although I do
not see any attempt in the OT to teach that the Earth is flat, I do see that
the theological revelation in the OT is clothed in the scientific
understanding of the times, wherein the Earth is flat. I set forth my reasons
for believing the Earth is described as flat in the OT in a paper called "The
geographical meaning of 'earth' and 'seas' in Gen 1:10" in the Westminster
Theological Journal 59 (1997) 231-55.

Where is a biblical revelation saying that God would never accommodate his
revelation to the scientific ideas of the times? I think point 1, although
popular, is an a priori assumption brought into theology from philosophical
idealism or rationalism.