Re: statement on creationism?
Tue, 30 Nov 1999 12:51:16 -0700

On Mon, 29 Nov 1999 20:08:10 +0000 glenn morton <>
> Hi Dave,
> While my personal epistemological beliefs require a more historical
> Bible
> than others require, I will freely admit that what you describe
> above was
> one of my strategic considerations in going the way I have. WE can't
> convert YECs wholesale unless we give them something that they
> want--namely
> a historical scripture. My views do show that the YEC way is not
> the only
> way to maintain historicity. But my strategy goes deeper than this.
> Like
> the YECs, I share many of their cherished theological beliefs
> including Eve
> literally taken from Adam's rib. That doctrine is used to
> specifically rule
> out ANY descent from the animals from man. It is used by both young
> and old
> earthers.Part of my strategy is to show that the Bible doesn't rule
> out
> evolution. Christianity must come to grips with evolution just as
> they came
> to grips with heliocentrism. Some examples of how Christians use the
> Eve
> taken from the rib business.
Glenn, I think I understand where they are coming from. But a respect for
the _ipsissima verba_ has forced me from interpreting either Genesis 1 or
2 as a schedule of _modus operandi_ of God's creative activity. Since 1
has the human pair created simultaneously after plants, birds and beasts,
and 2 has Adam formed and given life before plants, birds, beasts and
Eve, the order and process of neither chapter can be ascribed to the
historical sequence. Consequently, I hole that the chapters record
accurately two revelations that communicated to ancient Israel and to us,
provided we do not impose on them modern chronological assumptions.

I know that the Hebrew verbs do not manifest the complexity of
Indo-European languages, so that a Semitic imperfect may sometimes be
translated as a pluperfect. This is used by day-age interpreters to bail
out the fourth day, and by many to fit Genesis 1 to 2:18f. But this
approach violates the integrity of the narrative sequence. I cannot claim
that v. 19 should read: ". . . God had [earlier] formed every beast . . .
and [now] brought them to Adam . . ." unless v. 20 can read that "Adam
had given names . . ." before the creatures passed before him.

So long as YEC's and OEC's impose their chronological assumptions on the
scriptures, I see no way to bring them to recognize the possibility that
a hominid pair were transformed into human beings. The fact is that I
have encountered no empirical technique that allows the differentiation
of emergent properties because of increased brain complexity from a
miraculous transformation. Certainly a soul does not leave anatomical
traces, and MacKay viewed it as purely organizational, with resurrection
simply the reassembly of personal memory. I may not want to agree, but I
haven't found an absolute disproof. Sometimes it's a pain to be human.