I apologize for being snippy in my last note. As I said, I do get tired of
the literalism canard because it isn't my position, but most people when
they first hear me decide that that is the box I should be stuffed into.
At 10:11 PM 08/25/1999 -0500, Preston Garrison wrote:
>I am just puzzled by your earlier statements that seemed to imply that
>objective theological interpretation is not possible.
>G.M.> "I have collected some 23 different interpretations (if I recall
>correctly) of Genesis 1-3. Most of these are logically contradictory with
>others, yet their authors proclaim in full measure that their view is
>theologically accurate. There is no way to discern between one
>accurate view and another theologically accurate view when they both can't
>true at the same time."
>I'm not trying to pick a fight. I'm just asking for information. Assuming
>you have developed a concordist scheme that covers all the problems, I'm not
>clear on how you would then get to the theological truth.
This is a different question than the above. I do not believe that
theological interpretations are objective. If they were, I wouldn't have a
collection of 23+ different interpretations of Genesis. If they were
entirely objective, then we would not have the multitude of denominations
with the varying shades of theological interpretation. You don't find
physicists arguing about constancy of the speed of light, nor the validity
of Maxwell's equations. But you have a multitude of differences on nearly
every theological issue. Theology is much like philosophy and depends much
more on the individual's assumption (which can't be tested against
observational data as can the assumptions going into a scientific hypothesis).
Preston> We go to the Bible mainly for theological truth ("who else has the
>Words of life?"). We probably would not be having this discussion if we
>thought that Genesis was just another religious text of some primitive
It is at this point we agree. And this is where I find the biggest
conundrum. If Genesis is just as false as any primitive religious text,
then what is there to distinguish it from the others? I see everyone
assuming that the Bible is special with no justification for that
assumption other than personal faith and belief. Well the Mormons have
faith that their book is theologically true as do the Hindus. Why is our
faith and belief more capable than the Mormon, Muslim or Hindu? Because we
believe the Bible to be true? BAsed upon what? our personal faith that it
is? This is an entirely circular process and I would like to break out of
the circle. The only way out that I can see is concordism, NOT LITERALISM
in which every item must be true.
I don't understand how it helps you to show that Genesis is factually
reliable (or however you would characterize what you think is necessary) if
you think that objective theological interpretation is impossible. I'm not
saying that I think it is or isn't possible myself. I'm just curious what
your thinking is.
It breaks me out of the circular reasoning that Christians use to justify
their belief that the Bible is worthy of being believed. I have had to
face this issue squarely because in my extended family, there are Mormons
and Muslims and because twice in the past 10 years I have nearly slipped
into atheism. It simply doesn't work to tell a muslim that the Bible is
true because I believe it to be true. He will then tell you that he
believes the Koran is true. That is a true standoff. If neither of us has
any evidence to back up that belief, it is useless. Tell the Muslim that
Jesus arose and he will tell you that the Koran says he didn't. And one
can't tell a mormon that God has lead me to this belief because of his
indwelling spirit. Why? Because the Mormon will tell you that the
indwelling spirit led him to his beliefs in the Book of Morman.
Christians live in a sheltered world where most of their associates are
christians. This leads to a situation in which no one questions the
foundations. Everyone finds it strange when someone like me comes along and
questions seriously seeking some way out of these types of standoffs. The
only way I see to escape the circularity and standoffs is via concordism.
Foundation, Fall and Flood
Adam, Apes and Anthropology
Lots of information on creation/evolution