Re: A Christian's Responsibility (was: Miller's Request for N&V
Wed, 22 Sep 1999 09:29:55 -0500

Paul S. wrote

>When also God has appointed man to "subdue the earth" it a frustration of the
>divine intention to refuse to use our knowledge and capabilities of
>investigation. Further, we are called to accept by faith that which has been
>>divinely revealed, not the historical or scientific information as such,
>which in Scripture is always represented as contingent upon human sources.
>It is some form of extra-biblical philosophical idealism which has led
>Christians to expect Scripture to be an inerrant guide to science and
>history. The Bible makes no such claim.

I believe you are correct.

My problem with this analysis is that it does not include the reader.
If the Biblical authors relied on the natural knowledge of the day to convey
immutable truths, then is the reader to interpret those truths in
light of the natural knowledge of their day or of our day? If it is their
day, then we attenuate our interpretation of the text so as to ignore
our current experience of nature (which I believe has differentiated into
science and common sense). If it is our day, then we have the extra
biblical philosophical idealism problem.

I think that any solution of the [ancient presenter: modern reader]
dilemma will be difficult to articulate in light of the immutable truth
that the contemplation of nature can lead us to God.

We cannot expect the Bible to be a guide to science and history. However,
we should expect it to be a guide to our appreciation of science
and history. Furthermore, that appreciation should bring us farther
than any other approach, just like Aquinas brought Aristotle's ideas
farther than any other approach or like Michaelangelo brought Greek
ideas of beauty farther than anyone else.

My sense is that the Bible is a portal to the space where we can find
God through the contemplation of nature. But how do you get through
the door?