From: George Murphy <email@example.com>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Date: Tuesday, August 10, 1999 2:34 PM
Subject: Re: Inconsistency on Shroud vs. Genesis.
>> At 08:32 AM 08/09/1999 -0400, George Murphy wrote:
>> > Certainly it's a truth of revelation (& not only Gen.1) that God
>> >of all things. What I referred to was the idea that the creation itself
>> is divine
>> >revelation - discussion of which would get us into the whole natural
>> theology question,
>> >Romans 1 &c.
>> In the sense that the ID group tries to use a flawed approach (one that
>> never tells us what actually happened but only tells us what didn't
>> happen), I agree. But I can't see why people like you fight against the
>> idea that there might be some way to unite modern observational data with
>> newer interpretation of the Scripture.
> Scripture is witness to God's revelation to Israel which culminates in
>Christ, & for brevity one may just say that Scripture is God's revelation.
>contains differenr types of literature, and even the parts which are not
>narrative may have accurate historical, geographical &c information.
>has such material - real rivers in Gen.2, a real city of Babylon &c. But
>revelatoty even when it doesn't have such information. You're "fighting"
>position that it must be historical narrative in order to be true in any
>am not "fighting" against all possibility of historical information in
>But I do resist both the notion that Scripture _must_ have that character &
>what seem to me implausible or purely "it might have been" historical
>claim to reconcile Genesis & history or science in concordist fashion.
>Whether mine is successful or not
>> is not the issue here. Just the concept. Let's say Joe Camel comes up
>> a fantastic synthesis between what the Bible says and modern science. Is
>> right to reject Joe's synthesis because we don't believe that the creaton
>> is a revelation? How do we know that the creation does not witness to
>> God's creative act in the past? Afterall, nature is a witness for much of
>> what modern science believes happened in the past.
> I think the idea that we are to know God in the same way we come to
>the world is a serious mistake.
>> > 1st, this statement is incorrect. Jerome said that the creation
>> >"after the manner of a popular poet", & there was extensive use in the
>> early church
>> >of allegorical interpretation (which I am NOT recommending) of Genesis
>> well as
>> >other texts. It was particularly with the Reformation that the emphasis
>> was placed on a
>> >single "literal" meaning - usually understood to be historical
>> of the
>> >biblical text.
>> > But I think we also have to say that, with all the errors and
>> >biblical criticism, we've learned some things about the historical
>> character of
>> >Scripture, the relationships of biblical texts to other cultures,
>> types, & of
>> >course scientific understanding of history and the world, which the
>> theologians of the
>> >early & medieval church or the Reformation didn't have. We really have
>> learned some
>> Genesis 1-11 doesn't have the similies [sp?], allegories and other poetic
>> devices found in the Psalms, which all agree is ancient Hebrew poetry. I
>> don't see statements in early Genesis like:
>> The Lord is my shepherd.
>> he shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water
>> Let them be as chaff before the wind,
>> Many psalms are like prayers, not at all in the style of Genesis:
>> Unto thee, O Jehovah, will I call
>> Draw me not away with the wicked,
>> Looking at the literary style I see in Psalms I don't see it in early
>> Genesis. Where are the similies?
> 1st, you miss the point of my reply. Your claim was that Christian
>to interpret Genesis other than as historical narratives are modern
>examples I cited shows that they aren't. Whether or not patristic or
>medieval allegorizing is valid is another question.
> 2d, the point (& in large part weakness) of allegory is that one can
>a text that looks like straight history as something else - either in
addition to or
>in place of the historical reading. The account of Abram, Sarai, & Hagar
reads on the
>surface as an historical account, but they are, according to St. Paul, "an
>speaking of something not at all evident on the surface (Gal.4:21-31).
> 3d, there's a lot of Hebrew poetry in the OT that doesn't come across as
>in most English version.
>> > Say for (over) simplicity that Gen.1-11 contains stories.
>> matter in
>> Why stories? I think the only reason moderns believe that Genesis has no
>> bearing on creation as it actually happened is because they have been
>> unable to present a scenario that matches the Biblical account. Thus we
>> call it stories, or poetry, anything so long as we don't have to deal
>> it as any form of history--which is what the ancients thought it was.
> Again you miss the point. You argued that details are only important if
>is presenting a set of historically or scientifically accurate
propositions. That is
>> >> I know you never said this. What you are saying is that God can
>> >> world, but doesn't have the ability to communicate how he did it to a
>> >> of primitive tribesman of 4000 years ago.
>> > No, I didn't say that either. God didn't communicate as you'd
>> Here I disagree. The effect of what you are saying is that God doesn't
>> to be able to effectively communicate anything about the truth of what
>> actually happened in the creation. Why, I ask, is God so impotent on this
>> point? As I keep pointing out, I can communicate simple truths about
>> creation to peasants that don't understand science. Am I more capable or
>> caring than God? Of course not. Examples, (again)
> You keep misrepresenting my position as saying that God "can't" or "isn't
>to" &c do certain things. & the idea that if God really loved us he'd
>truths to us I find strange.
>> The universe came from a hot fire.
>> The earth formed from a big cloud.
>> Life sprang forth from the waters.
>> Man was created when a creature that lived in the trees was changed.
>> There is absolutely nothing in the above 4 sentences that contradicts
>> science and that a 5000 BC farmer couldn't have understood. Is it
>> exhaustive? NO. Is it understandable? Yes. Does it conflict with
>> NO! The implications of your view for God's communicative abilities is
>> bad. Couldn't God think of doing this? Of course He should have been
>> to do it. But then since He didn't, we prefer to say He spoke gibberish
>> that only a theologian can understand and interpret. That is troubling.
> In fact, what God was willing to condescend to do was to use the
>ideas of the world held by Israel & its neighbors ~3000 years ago (flat
earth, dome of
>the sky, waters above the heavens &c), adapting them freely where necessary
>theological points (e.g., the treatment of the heavenly bodies on the 4th
>> > & I don't think it's necessary or profitable to try to
"harmonize" all the
>> >Easter accounts as a single historical narrative. There is good
>> >evidence for the women finding the tomb empty & appearances of Jesus to
>> some of his
>> >followers. That doesn't mean that all the details of the accounts - how
>> many women
>> >there were &c - can be harmonized historically.
>> If there is absolutely no way to harmonize all the details then someone
>> telling a whopper. Just like in the Clinton/Lewinsky affair, there was
>> way to harmonize all the accounts ("I didn't have sex with that woman,
>> Lewinsky" and "I was alone with him and performed...."). When accounts
>> don't harmonize, often someone is mistaken or lying. So while you might
>> not find it profitable to harmonize such things, I find it crucial.
> The (usually tacit) assumption in a legal setting is that people are
>to testify to "history as it really happens." Even in such a setting truth
is not an
>all or nothing affair. Whittaker Chambers remembered some things wrongly
>testimony in the Hiss case (as he himself notes in _Witness_), but that
>invalidate the totality of his testimony which showed that Hiss had been a
Communist & a
> As I said, I think one can make a good case from the totality of the
>materials which we have that Jesus' tomb was found empty and that he
appeared to his
>disciples after his death. In order to say that one does not have to
insist that all
>the gospel statements about arrangements at the tomb, number of women,
>first appeared in Galilee or Jerusalem &c can be put into a single
>> >Where is that stated in the Bible?
>> > Where is it stated that everything in Scripture is accurate
>> Exodus treated the 6 days as history:
>> Exodus 20:16 "In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth"
>> Is Exodus 20:16 false? That is NOT a poetic statement, unless we now want
>> to include anything that discusses the creation as being poetry.
>> >> What you advocate is that we are free to ignore the Bible.
>> > As far as doing science is concerned, yes. If it weren't so, S.
>> >other atheists wouldn't get anywhere in science. Of course this doesn't
>> mean should
>> >ignore the Bible _period_.
>> That means that the Bible has NOTHING useful to say about creation; not
>> even anything to say about who made it.
> Nonsense. It says that the God who brought Israel out of Egypt & raised
>from the dead is the creator of the universe - a highly non-trivial claim.
>> If I claim to have made the
>> universe but give you no reason to believe that I knew how the universe
>> created, then you would have a perfect right, no a duty, to doubt that I
>> created the universe. The very fact that I don't know enough high energy
>> physics to be able to discuss particle creation would be cited as proof
>> that I was an imposture. Why does such reasoning not apply to God?
> In other words, you have a list of conditions God has to meet before
>accept him as God?
>> > & Isaiah & Job.
>> >> There is no problem with the psalms being
>> >> poetry. They are clearly poetry. But Genesis 1-11 are not entirely
>> >> poetry.
>> > I didn't say they were. The point is that there is a way of
>> >creation which runs through the OT which is inspired, authoritative,
>> & which
>> >no one with any sense reads as historical narrative.
>> OK, which parts are not poetry? Lay it out.
> Again you miss the point. Identification of "poetry" in the strict sense
>is a matter of looking carefully at the structure of the Hebrew. Deciding
>not to read words as metaphors &c is more difficult: The grammatical
>"My heart is broken" is the same as that of "My pencil is broken."
> But the point (& I quite understand why you want to avoid it) is that what
>I've already said twice: The motif of the struggle with the sea, the sea
>runs through the OT as a way of speaking about creation & no one wants to
>it as an account of events which really happened.
> (A horrible thought creeps upon me: It it possible that Glenn will argue
>that it _could have_ happened that way, that maybe God "really did" "slay
>the Deep with a deadly wound"? May it not be!)
>> >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
>> >> find one in my bible.
>> > Of course there are different literary types in Gen.1-11.
>> OK, so are the genealogies supposed to represent historical figures?
> They undoubdtedly have some historical information. That doesn't mean
>have the kind of genealogical accuracy that the DAR would ask for.)
>> > No, you demonstrated that God could have given a smidgen of a
hint of the
>> >of biological evolution. But you are misrepresenting my position & to
>> state it
>> >accurately will have to stop refrring to what God "can" or "can't" do.
>> It's a question
>> >of what God chose to do.
>> Now, here we come to an interesting issue. Are you claiming to know what
>> God chose to do? I certainly don't know the mind of God that clearly.
>> I can figure out what it is possible for God to do. And given that,
>> with the premise that God tells no lies, points me in the direction of
>> trying to find a scenario that will match both science and the Scripture.
> As far as being able to read the text, yes, I can tell know the literature
>witnesses to God's revelation. I'm not insisting that God communicate
>a specific way before I'll pay attention to it. It seems to me that you
>> > God apparently chose to bring about life through processes of
>> >doing so (as in other ways) God VOLUNTARILY limited the ways in which he
>> would act in
>> >the world.
>> But that does not explain why God voluntarily limited his communicative
>> abilities! I agree that God created life via evolution. But that
>> explain why God went to such lengths to hide this from the ancient
>> (This is the basic idea of a kenotic theology of divine action - see my
>> >paper in last summer's Zygon - or the old distinction between God's
>> "absolute" & God's
>> >"ordinate" power.) Given this, it's hardly surprising that at the stage
>> when God wanted
>> >to begin the revelation of himself & his relation with the world to an
>> >species which had evolved, they weren't ready to understand general
>> relativity, quantum
>> >field theory, stellar evolution, DNA, population genetics &c.
>> For the 18th time, God didn't have to teach them quantum. He could have
>> used the 4 sentences I mentioned earlier. Why do you think that if God
>> didn't teach them quantum he couldn't tell them anything true about the
>> creation? That is a nonsequitor.
> God did tell us about creation - i.e., what it means for the world to be
>his creation. & I'd add that adding some a few elementary scientific
>to the text would as likely have hindered the eventual progress of science
>it. We've already have enough problems with goofy attempts to fit the
waters above the
>heavens into modern cosmologies.
>George L. Murphy