Re: Black Sea Flood

From: Terry M. Gray (
Date: Wed May 01 2002 - 13:18:40 EDT

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    Guilty as charged--I guess. I appreciate the concerns with
    concordism, and as you know, in following Kline, I am not a strict
    concordist. Also, I am fully aware of the theological purposes in
    many scriptures--purposes which make "history book" history
    subservient to those theological purposes. Thus, differing Biblical
    chronologies, differing accounts of the same history, etc. are not a
    seriouis problem for me. Also, since I believe that scripture is
    fully divine and fully human, I have no problem recognizing human
    limited perspective elements in the text. But there is significant
    overlap between what is found in scripture and what is found in
    history. Even starting with the NT (I concur with your hermeneutic
    here!), the pattern of thinking of Jesus and the apostles suggests
    that they regarded the early chapters of Genesis as being "history",
    i.e. that Adam, Eve, Noah, his sons and daughters, etc. were real
    people. If believing that makes me a concordist, then I'll happily
    take the label.

    Now with respect to Mike's comments:

    This whole area is a big struggle for me, because I am fully
    convinced that the scientific record shows animal ancestry and that
    the most recent biological common ancestor for present day humans is
    at least in the 200,000 years ago vicinity and maybe more.

    Theologians for at least the past 500 years and perhaps longer have
    understood the Bible to teach that Adam is the literal father of the
    whole race. A significant chunk of Reformed theology as represented
    by the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Westminster Shorter
    and Larger Catechisms
    summarize this view (in their discussions of the fall and the

    For example, Shorter Catechism Q. 16. Did all mankind fall in Adam's
    first transgression? A. The covenant being made with Adam [a], not
    only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from
    him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his
    first transgression [b].
    [a]. Gen. 2:16-17; Jas. 2:10 [b]. Rom. 5:12-21; ICor. 15:22

    Conservative presbyterians to this day continue to understand Genesis
    2-3 and Acts 17 and Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 and passages in the
    Pastoral Epistles in this light. (Actually, we would really say that
    these passages provide the Biblical basis for the summary found in
    our confessions.) So we have this long history of interpretation and
    this large community of pastors and theologians that hold to this
    view. It is no simple matter to say "whoops--we got it wrong!" This
    is not mindless following of dogma, but an appreciation for the work
    of the spirit in leading the church through the ages and through the
    whole church. I also don't believe that these views are unique to
    Reformed Christianity--that really most of Western Christianity at
    least holds these views creedally and confessionally.

    I think it's a fairly new development in the history of Christianity
    that we go off and come up with our own views and don't have them
    "ratified" by the church as a whole. Of course, the church as a whole
    is rather fragmented these days. And so even if I can get my
    conservative presbyterian brothers to agree on some novel
    interpretation, this is only one small branch of the church. The
    point is that Mike and Dick's view signficantly alters a view common
    among many Christians and throughout church history of the role of

    I think that the alleged contradiction between Genesis 1 and 2 that
    Mike points out is not one at all. Genesis 1 gives us the grand
    picture of creation in fairly general terms--no need to go into the
    details about the two trees for that account; Genesis 2 gives us the
    specific account of the establishment of the so-called "covenant of
    works" where the probation is precisely in terms of the "tree of the
    knowledge of good and evil"; the prohibition there is central to the

    Finally, in answer to some of Jim's questions:

    I understand the "sons of God" to be the descendents of Seth--the
    godly line in covenant with God and the "daughters of men" to be the
    descendents of Cain--the ungodly line not in covenant with God. Thus,
    we have here the "mixed marriage", "unequally yoked" prohibited by
    God throughout scripture, yet practiced by God's people throughout
    time. Of course, the passage is difficult and this view may not
    answer all the questions, but in the context of the geneologies of
    Genesis 4-5 and the subsequent judgment in the flood, it fits the
    context. I'm not going to hang my understanding of scripture or of
    science/faith interaction on this obscure passage.


    >TG wrote: Scripture seems pretty clear that Adam is head, not only
    >covenantally but also biologically, of the whole human race.
    >I don't believe the Bible clearly teaches such a thing at all. I think the
    >scriptures are simply saying that Adam's disobedience formally established
    >the fact that men are sinful and are, thus, unworthy of eternal life. Because
    >Adam in paradise, a perfect specimen of a man without a problem in the world,
    >could not manage to obey one simple command from God, he clearly demonstrated
    >and established the fact that the entire human race, including those who had
    >lived before him and those who would live after him, were unworthy of eternal
    >So, with these things in mind, Paul accurately referred to Adam when he
    >wrote, "By one man's disobedience many were constituted sinners." ( to
    >"constitute" means to "formally establish." Romans 5:19, Amplified Bible) So,
    >after Adam failed a simple God given test of his righteousness, God had good
    >reason to retroactively condemn the entire human race as being deserving of
    >the deaths they had been suffering, and undeserving of eternal life, a gift
    >God had not yet given to any human being.
    >TG wrote: I don't find the attempts to see two different human creation
    >accounts in Genesis 1 and 2 to be convincing.
    >Notice that in Genesis 1:29 God told the people He had created, "I give you
    >... every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food."
    >Compare those words of God spoken to those people to the first words God
    >spoke to Adam. "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must
    >not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." (Gen. 2:16,17) That
    >sounds like two different creation accounts to me. If not we have a big

    Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist
    Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
    Fort Collins, Colorado  80523
    phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801

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