Re: Inconsistency on Shroud vs. Genesis.

Allan Harvey (
Thu, 12 Aug 1999 08:25:13 -0600

At 08:08 PM 8/11/99 +0000, Glenn wrote:
>At 08:52 AM 08/11/1999 -0600, Allan Harvey wrote:
>>If some group of Christians wanted to bow to golden calves, would you
>>want to "preserve" that too? If people's theology is based not on Jesus
>>Christ but on some human-generated idea of how they think the Bible
>>should have been written, we do them a disservice if we reinforce that
>THis is an interesting objection given George's position in which God chose
>to use a wrong science, indeed a false science, with which to communicate
>the truth of creation. If that view is true (and if you also hold that
>view), then it is also inconsisstent for you to say I can't do the same
>thing to the YECs that God did to the Shepherds 3000 years ago! If God can
>use a false science to communicate truth, why can't I use a false theology
>to communicate truth?

That's an interesting question. But I don't think the parallel holds --
if the important messages being communicated are theological (as is the
case with the Bible and interpretation thereof), then I think incorrect
theology is not an acceptable way to go, whereas imperfect scientific
descriptions don't matter nearly as much. Paul gives all sorts of
warnings about getting doctrine right, but none that I know of about
getting science right when teaching doctrine (which is not to say we
shouldn't try to do that).

Having said that, I will admit that (as with scientific explanations in
these matters), it can be OK *to a limited extent* to accommodate
doctrine to the limitations of the audience. There is real value to the
work of people like Glenn and even Hugh Ross, who show that, even if one
holds to a narrowly literalist view of Scripture, one need not go down
the destructive YEC path. It may be that some people will close their
ears if they hear somebody espousing a less historical view of early
Genesis, so they may only listen to people like Glenn and Hugh Ross who
can meet them on their own turf. But somehow that needs to be done in a
way that does not reinforce idolatrous views of the Bible, and if
possible which prepares them for growth in their theology down the road.
Because in the long run, correcting somebody's unhealthy view of the
Bible is going to do them and the church more good than correcting an
unhealthy view of the scientific details of creation.

And with that I think we've gone about as far as I can with this
discussion, so I'm also going to let Glenn have the last word if he wants it.

| Dr. Allan H. Harvey | |
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| National Institute of Standards & Technology | government for what I |
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