Re: Adam never met Eve

Date: Fri Nov 10 2000 - 10:44:07 EST

  • Next message: John Burgeson: "Re: Glenn's 3rd comment"

    Glenn Morton wrote:

    << Let's take your scenario to illustrate what I see as
    the two different reactions of the conservatives on the
    one hand and liberals on the other. This case is fascinating
    because there is NO archaeological evidence for the Exodus,
    especially one with so many people.

    There are certainly problems with asserting that Abraham
    onward (and particularly the Exodus) *must* have some sound
    historical basis. However, I think there is no choice because
    we assert that God acts in history. If the Exodus didn't
    happen, then the basis for that claim is false. I could
    call the Bible "inspired" (whole cloth that is), but not
    "inspired" as used by evangelicals.

    I agree that there is no archeological evidence, but as far
    as I understand, at least we can show that the Biblical
    account is _consistent_ with other information of the same
    time period. It would be nice to have the extra biblical
    sources to help support the account and more physical
    evidence, but as of this time at least, it seems we don't
    have it.

    From what I understand,
    the large numbers of people can be somewhat resolved
    by considering whether the word "elef" should be read as
    "clan" or as "family unit". That would bring the Exodus down to
    a resonable size of 5000 people. It also would allow for a more
    reasonable scenario since 2 million people would have easily
    overwhelmed the Egyptian army anyway and it would not have required
    God's intervention. Moreover, Moses would have been working 500
    hours a day judging cases with so many people. Of course, that
    wouldn't explain Numbers 3:43. With my extremely limited scholarship
    of OT literature (effectively nill), I might hedge that Numbers
    reflects a greater population of Hebrew people in diverse places
    most of whom were not originally involved in *the* Exodus. That's a
    bit of intellectual wiggling, but I don't think that is taking
    extreme liberty.

    The parting of the "Yam Suf" (Sea of Reeds or Red Sea depending
    on the context), is clearly faith on my part. I don't think
    there are any reports of a flash floods or tsunami in the
    Sea of Reeds. Again, the historicity of Moses and the Exodus
    are essential before I would grant my credulity to lull me into
    believing the parting of the "Yam Suf", talking donkeys and other
    incredible events recorded in the Torah. A god acting in a good
    story is not a God I should bow down and worship.

    The conservative, in order to maintain his belief and
    avoid leaving Christianity, can reject the total lack of
    scientific observation as being important. This is what
    they do with creation. THey reject the observational data
    that contradicts their views or say it really isn't important.
    The liberal on the other hand, in order to maintain his
    belief and avoid leaving christianity, will say that the
    Exodus was not meant to be taken literally--it was meant
    to teach us about humans and the human conditions and our
    relationship to God. It simply doesn't have to be historical.

    This is why I reject both approaches. They are heads I win,
    tails you lose approaches.

    It does seem that you and Dick Fischer have both struggled
    to keep the integrity of the Biblical text from Genesis 1.
    I admire your dilligence: although it seems the two of you
    can't seem to agree on anything :-).

    I can see from your scenario that an extreme conservative
    approach can lead to something akin to irrationality,
    and an extreme liberal approach can lead to mere muddle.
    Neither seems like a sound basis for faith when taken to
    the limits you describe. Frankly, I doubt that Howard
    is going that far in a liberal direction, but he would
    have to speak for himself.

    by Grace alone do we proceed,

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