Re: St. Basil's 400AD view of the Days of proclamation
Tue, 24 Aug 1999 07:41:56 -0500

I cut and pasted what I thought were the best lines of the past debate.

Glenn wrote:

"However, with a concordistic approach if one can see objective information
in the account that is true but unknown at that time, then one can use this
as evidence that this account is true. In that way one doesn't have to
assume what one wants to believe and then turn that assumption into a
theological doctrine."

George A wrote:

"However, the erroneous Babylonian science contained in the Genesis text is just
what the text purports; tautologically. Thus, Genesis is 'accurate
theologically yet inaccurate scientifically' by modern christianity and
science, respectively; furthermore, there simply is no room in the text for
evolution; only solid sky, separating oceans above and below."

George L. Murphy wrote (with a few snips taken out):

"1) Even granting the validity of a concordist approach to early Genesis,
its real significance is theological - i.e., in what it says about God and the
relationship between God and the world. Thus discerning its theological content
an essential activity, whether it's done sooner or later. The problems Glenn
out certainly have to be dealt with, but they aren't avoided simply by saying
early Genesis is scientifically &/or historically accurate. (snip)
2) One thing that makes the theological reading difficult is that there
different theologies in the Bible. In the first place, the theological
of Israel & the church grew with time. To take a term in the above discussion,
of the OT is not "monotheist" in the sense of denying the existence of other
but "henotheist" - only Yahweh is to be worshipped. (snip)
& even with that taken into account. biblical theologies differ. The
of God in Gen.1 & Gen.2, or those of Jesus in the synoptics & John, are not
Paul & James understand the roles of faith & law differently. This is why some
hermeneutical principle (which must itself be Scriptural) is needed."

In a weird way, Glenn's comments have already been realized. Genesis One
predicted that 'nature is not divine'. Science has generated the objective
information that substantiated this claim. Methodological naturalism,
the way of science, has built a powerful description of the world based
on the assumption that 'divine causation is not allowed as a descriptor'.

As George pointed out, however, 'nature is not divine' is only one of the
several Biblical theological statements on the relation between God and the
world. He already knows the central hermeneutic principle, the cross, for
appreciating the gestalt of the Biblical message. I say 'gestalt' because
the Bible is a record of experiences and interpretations that is united
through tradition. One important aspect of the idea of 'gestalt' is that it
is apprehended, appreciated, or whatever word you want to used for 'seeing
the big picture while at the same time recognizing the components'.

The hermeneutic of the cross cannot be captured by spoken words because,
as Saussure pointed out, spoken language is founded on differences. Our
words typically divide the gestalt experience into parts. Expressing the
different theological concepts in the Biblical 'gestalt' tends to make
the Bible seem fragmented.

Oddly enough, the word 'consilience', already touted by Wilson and Ruse
(not in the Christian camp), is the path for appreciating the Biblical
gestalt - which as Glenn noted stretches beyond the text into history and
everything else we know.

Thus we see the weakness of George A.'s desire to box the potential referents
of Genesis 1 into the category of 'Babylonian science', it inhibits a
greater appreciation of the Biblical gestalt.

To me, concordism is an artistic expression of our desire for consilience.
Perhaps Glenn is arguing for a match between Genesis and the evolutionary
record, not so much to force acquiecence through the objectivity, but
to expand the appreciation of the experience of God that flows through
interaction the Bible and our human nature.

The criteria for a good 'match' between a concordist work of art and
the evolutionary sciences is necessarily multifaceted because it addresses
a multifaceted gestalt experience. I think that concordism is the closest
thing we have today to something akin to search for the Holy Grail
by the knights of the round table. It may be frustrating, it may be
impossible, but it is eminently inspired by the Christian vision.