Re: Precambrian geology (2)

Jonathan Clarke (
Fri, 30 Apr 1999 16:59:56 +1000

Allen Roy wrote:

> Sorry for the delay. Been busy.

No peace for the wicked. I have the same problem....

However, thank your for clarifying your understanding in this email. Some
points which I would in particular like to follow up on follow.

> I would hesitate to consider the Bible a scientific account, because
> science is a modern invention. However, I do accept it as accurate in
> history and observation.

I would go some way with agreeing with you. However I would add that not all
the Bible is history or observation. There is law, parable, wisdom, narrative
prose, many different types of poetry. So it is important to take the context,
style, and form into account. Even in the historical parts we also have to
allow for the fact that what the writers understood as being important in terms
of history and and observation was often different to ours.

> I'd say that it was interpretations of the evidence acquired by science
> that caused them to reevaluate their interpretations of Genesis. I believe
> that since God authored both the Bible and Nature they should be in
> agreement with each other. If there appears to be conflict then one of the
> following is true.
> a. We have an innaccurate or incomplete interpretation of the evidence
> acquired by science.
> b. We have an innaccurate or incomplete interpretation of relevant
> Biblical texts, or
> c. Both of the above.
> I think most of the problems or conflicts are because of c.

Again, I would go quite a way in agreeing with you, providing we acknowledge
that the Bible is written within the world picture of the era. In contrast the
Biblical world view stands in dramatic contrast to that of the era, as it does
to those of the present.

> > Incidentally the gap approach is generally credited to Thomas Chambers
> > (1791) and the tablet theory to Kurtz (1857) PJ Wiseman (1949), all of
> whom
> > accepted the great age of the earth and a limited role for the flood.
> It is completly irrelevant what any of these men believed about the age of
> the earth and the flood. We are free to accept this or that part of what
> someone believed, according to what seems to be the most logical according
> to our understanding and paradigm. Just because one accepts one point does
> not mean that one must also carry all the rest of the baggage. The tablet
> theory has alot of positive points, which makes it an attractive
> explanation for how we got Genesis.

I too was very fond of the tablet theory for a number of years. However I
understand that it's grammatical basis is not widely supported these days. I
have to rely on those more knowledgeable than I here,

The whole raison detre for the tablet idea was that it allowed the text of
Genesis 1 to be harmonised with an old earth. If you do not believe that the
seven days to be anything other than consecutive 144 hours and/or reject
concordism (as I understand you do), then the reason for having the tablet
theory simply evaporates.

> Without, hopefully, contradicting what I said before, I see the use of
> fossils (as with any other particulates held within a rock formation) for
> correlations across areas up to hundreds of miles as valid. However, I am
> simply skeptical about using the concept for global correlations.

Most people would historically have been sceptical as well. However the
validity of inter regional then intercontinental and then finally global
correlation was established in the face of the sceptics by the weight of
evidence. of course, most fossils have only limited ranges in space, which is
why it is possible to study palaeobiogeography. It is only the fortunate few
which are more widespread and allow such long range correlations.

> Augustine has never had much of an influence over any of the beliefs which
> I hold. :)

I think you would be surprised! Augustine is arguably the most important
theologian of time. He also is one of the most important philosophers of the
last 2000 years as well. Augustine's thought played a key role in the
definition of much of what is considered "orthodox" on subjects such as
original sin, heaven, redemption, grace, the trinity and incarnation, God's
sovereignty, etc.

God Bless