RE: Answersingenesis

From: Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Date: Sat Apr 07 2001 - 18:49:05 EDT

  • Next message: Jonathan Clarke: "Re: Answersingenesis"


    Thanks for your e-mail. Let me put the comment that you lifted out my
    e-mail of 31 March in context. I wrote, in part:

    "I don't see any particular mystery in the support that the YEC-based views
    are receiving in the evangelical arena. If one holds to a literal (or
    near-literal) interpretation and ignores the geological record, a YEC-based
    view makes perfectly good sense. Since there are many more Bible-reading
    Christians than Christian geologists, a YEC-based view will no doubt

    Over the last few years since I started "lurking" on (in?) this forum I've
    noticed a marked decrease in the YEC-OEC debate. Rather than thinking that
    this means that the YEC-based supporters have "lost" the argument, it's more
    likely that many of the YEC adherents have simply given up.

    I want to pose another question: how many of "you out there" grew up with a
    literal interpretation of the Biblical narrative and when, and what caused
    you to change your views to your current view?"

    I was only using these examples as the sort of thing we tend to scratch our
    head over. I suppose a "non-literal interpretation" of a floating axe head
    would be to say that there is a deeper meaning to the story and that one
    doesn't quite know what to make of it. IOW, unbelief: one simply does not
    believe that an iron axe head could float. Either that, or one would
    explain the "floating" [quotations mine] axe head as the surfacing of a
    denser-than-water object as a result of some turbulence in the water.
    Ascribing the fall of the walls of Jericho to an earthquake falls in the
    same category.

    Was Jesus' walking on the water in the same category? I don't know.
    Intuitively, I could say, no, it does not and, yes, He did walk on the
    water. After all, he managed to make some fish and some bread go a long way
    so, why not!

    Now I have a question for you, Gordon. Would you put the sun-standing-still
    during one of the battles of the Israelites and the shadow moving backwards
    (as a sign of the earth moving in the opposite direction), as a sign that
    God would heal Hezehiah, in the same category as the floating axe head and
    Jesus' walking on the water? The implication of the floating axe head are
    rather minimal and involve a (temporary and local) suspension of some
    physical laws while the earth moving in the opposite direction might have
    all sorts of repercussions.

    I think that, intuitively, we tend to put miracles in different categories.
    Some of these are so fundamental to our faith that there is no room for
    argument. The resurrection falls into that category. Then there are the
    sort of miracles that Jesus performed, like walking on the water, healing
    the sick and raising the dead. We tend to accept them because 1) "the Bible
    tells us so" and 2) they show the power of Jesus and indicate that He is the
    Son of God. When it comes to the floating axe head, the walls of Jericho,
    we don't see these as essential to our faith as the resurrection and these
    become "negotiable" to some.

    As I mentioned, some fellow believers hold to the "domino theory" where a
    non-literal interpretation of the Bible is tantamount to denying everything.

    Incidentally, in my e-mail of 31 March, I posed the following question, "how
    many of "you out there" grew up with a literal interpretation of the
    Biblical narrative and when, and what caused you to change your views to
    your current view?" I have not had any reply.


    Chuck Vandergraaf
    Senior Scientist
    Waste Technology Business Unit
    Pinawa, MB R0E 1L0


    -----Original Message-----
    From: gordon brown [mailto:gbrown@euclid.Colorado.EDU]
    Sent: Saturday April 07, 2001 3:43 PM
    To: Vandergraaf, Chuck
    Subject: RE: Answersingenesis

    On Sat, 31 Mar 2001, Vandergraaf, Chuck wrote:

    > With "literal interpretation" I mean an actual Adam and Eve, walking and
    > communing with God in a lush garden, surrounded by an impenetrable wall
    > (remember the angels with flaming swords at the gates), a factual murder
    > Abel by Cain, the flooding of the entire world, an honest-to-goodness
    > floating axe head, the collapse of the walls of Jericho, etc.


    In your post you linked the above views with YEC, but I certainly wouldn't
    be surprised if most Christian OEC's believed in at least one of the items
    on your list.

    What is a nonliteral interpretation of the floating axehead?

    Is Jesus walking on water in the same category as a floating axehead?

    Gordon Brown
    Department of Mathematics
    University of Colorado
    Boulder, CO 80309-0395

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