Re: Perspectives

Massie (
Sat, 24 Apr 1999 08:46:15 -0700 wrote:

> 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
> and
> now.
> 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
> power
> of
> God and his relationship to man and explains our origins and does so
> accurately.
> He is giving man a great piece of information as to mans origins and
> nature.">>
> Comment:
> 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.
> Paul

There is no clear statement in the Bible saying "Genesis is scientifically

We can however be lead by statments such as "God cannot lie." and the "heavens
declase his handywork." As a basic principle would God give a technically
innacurate revelation and then expect sceptics to accept his gloary. I think not.

Quite to the contrary, many who would bring non-believers to Christ would argue
for the historical and scientific accurary of the Bible as a reason to believe.

Now, if the ancients saw the Earth as flat, I can see why, based on their limited
observations and knowledge. However, while there is figurature speach in the
Bible about the earth, there is no clear and compelling message from the Holy
Spirit as to the topology of the Earth. Bert Massie