Re: Inconsistency on Shroud vs. Genesis.
Sun, 08 Aug 1999 16:09:43 +0000

At 01:05 PM 08/08/1999 -0400, George Murphy wrote:
> Several points here:
> 1) My "OTOH ... OTOH" response to Tom's post, of which you quote half,
may have
>been a bit confusing. I was simply noting 2 things which seem to point in
>directions. Creation is a biblical claim while the shroud as evidence
isn't. However,
>the shroud would provide some support for the historical character of the
complex of
>events which the Bible presents as God's fundamental revelation, while the
>of creation as revelation is more debatable, & things like ID as proof of
creation are
>even more so.

I agree that it would be good to have physical evidence of the Biblical
claims around the resurrection. But I fail to see why the Biblical claim of
creation is less in need of physical evidence or at least a scenario that
matches what the Bible says. To say that the 'idea of creation as
revelation is more debatable' seems to ignore the very first verse of the
Bible: In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. That first
verse is either propositionally true or it is propositionally false. The
middle is excluded. And if the universe shows no evidence of creation then
the very first claim in the Bible becomes questionable. You are wanting
evidence for one thing mentioned in the Bible but no evidence for another
thing that is mentioned in the Bible. This is why I find your position
inconsistent. You want physical evidence for the resurrection but none for
the creation.

> 4) I believe that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus were
>events (though also in a sense transcending history). The gospel
accounts, while they
>are not newsstory-like narratives of these events, contain information
about what really
>happened - some of Jesus' disciples saw him after his death & burial & his
tomb was
>empty. A good case can be made on theological, historical, and literary
grounds for the
>historical veracity of the Easter accounts in this sense. The early
chapters of
>Genesis, on the other hand, are different kinds of accounts. They are
true statements
>about God's relationship with the world, but they are true in different
ways than
>scientific or historical narratives. The Bible contains a number of
different types of
>literature - history "as it really happened", poetry, fiction, myth,
>theological arguments, laws, &c. One has to learn to distinguish one from
the other,
>which isn't always an easy task.

I see this claim being made all the time, that early Genesis is a different
type of literature. But prior to the past 200 years, during which time
Christians have failed to provide a harmony between the Biblical account
and the scientific account, christians have adopted the view you advocate.
But when this claim is made, no evidence for this difference is cited. Just
a simple claim. The ancients read it as if it were a detailed account
telling them what God did, (not God's relationship). So you can't appeal
to the way they understood it because it is clear that they thought it was
a how-to on creation. I often point out that if Genesis is designed to
point out God's relationship and not the details of creation, then the
details given should not have been given. The Bible should have jumped
from Genesis 1:1 directly to Genesis 12:1. All our problems would be
solved then. But the details are there nonetheless.

> Certainly - it isn't historical reporting of events.
>> If God can't create the world,
> Of course I never said this.

I know you never said this. What you are saying is that God can create the
world, but doesn't have the ability to communicate how he did it to a bunch
of primitive tribesman of 4000 years ago. Why God is so tongue-tied or
incompetent at communication I am not sure. If God can't communicate to us
about creation, can He correctly communicate to us about the resurrection?
I would have serious doubts. Both types of communication require God
inspiring a fallible human. If the human failed with creation, could the
human have failed in communicating the true facts about the resurrection?
Of course the human could have. That is why I believe that it is important
for God to be able to communicate clearly with humans.

> 1) What God _can_ do & what God _chooses_ to do & what you or I would
>God to do are different things. If God chose to communicate truth about
the creation
>of the world in liturgy or story or theological polemic then we ought to
accept it &
>not turn it into something else.

I see no evidence (except presuppositional bias) that this is a theological
polemic. Until around 1700-1800 most people believed that God was
communicating history. Your view is a recent view. And while you are
correct that God can choose to do what he wants, if God acts inconsistently
then it becomes difficult to trust Him. How do you KNOW God chose to
communicate clearly about the resurrection but didn't so choose with
creation? Where is that stated in the Bible?

>That is not a sacrifice of the intellect, for it also
>means that we are free to go ahead and investigate the world
scientifically without
>thinking we have to conform our findings to some "Bible science."

What you advocate is that we are free to ignore the Bible. I would not be
so quick to go where you have gone. As anyone familiar with my views
should know, I don't believe that we should ignore any observational data.
But I also don't think we are free to make the Bible say anything we want
it to say either. If we do that, we are doing to the Bible what the YECs do
to science! Both approaches are wrong.

> It's clear, quite apart from Gen.1 & 2 that God did use other types of
>literature to speak of the creation of the world. In several OT passages
God's creative
>acts are spoken of using the ancient motif of the _Chaoskampf_, the
slaying of
>sea-monsters & the victory over the sea - e.g., Ps.74:12-17, Ps.89:8-13,
Is.51:9-10, Job
>26:12-13. These are true statements about God as creator but no one in
their right mind
>today would insist that they are accurate historical reports.

EVerybody cites the psalms. There is no problem with the psalms being
poetry. They are clearly poetry. But Genesis 1-11 are not entirely
poetry. Name the Psalm that is a genealogical list as is Genesis 5 and 11.
Name the psalm that gives the kind of detail seen in Genesis 1-4. I don't
find one in my bible.

> I realize, as you've said before, that you feel you need to maintain the
>historicity of the Genesis accounts in order to argue for the truth of
>among the people you work with. But the fact that your style of
apologetics requires
>the Bible to have a certain character doesn't mean that it does.

Agreed. But then to make the Bible say (or be) things it obviously doesn't
say doesn't make it so either. Both views require some presuppositional
basis. I would argue that if the Bible knows nothing about how the world
was created, even though the God of the Bible claims to be the Creator,
then the Bible and the God of the Bible might just as well be impostures.
If I put on a lot of makeup and try to imitate you (I would have to slim
down a bit) I wouldn't be able to pull it off. I wouldn't know anything
about your children, your brothers/sisters/parents/aunts/uncles etc. I
wouldn't know what you preached on today. Anyone seeing this false George
Murphy would know quickly that I am an imposture from my lack of knowledge.
Similarly, if a god claims to be THE God, but knows nothing about the
creation He is supposed to have made, then he is an imposture also.

> 2) You've seen the T-shirts with
> "And God said
> divE= rho
> divB = 0
> curlB = dE/dt + J
> curlE = -dB/dt
> and there was light."
>It's at least a first approximation to something we could call a
scientifically accurate
>account of creation. How much sense would it have made to a Hebrew shepherd
>circa 1000 B.C.?

None. But God could have simply said 'out of the sea came life'. That
would have made sense to a hebrew shepherd and would be consistent with
modern science. You take an all or none approach to this. You assume that
if God can't give the entire scientific account that HE can't give any of
it. He could have as I just demonstrated.

So that leaves us 2 choices. Either Jehovah is an imposture and doesn't
really know anything about creation or we are misinterpreting Genesis 1-11.
I prefer to take the latter position.

>> then how do we know he
>> has the power to raise Jesus from the dead, shroud or no shroud?
> The best answer I can give to this part of your question is the paper I
gave at
>the ASA meeting a week ago. I'll send it to Glenn separately & to anyone
else who
>requests it.

My new address is 70 Harvest Wind Pl., The Woodlands, Tex 77382. I would
love to see it.


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