Thank you for your personal testimony which, however, does not
really touch upon the issue that I raised. In fact, your closing sentence
makes me wonder if you even realize what that issue was.
& your penultimate paragraph makes it clear that you still see no difference
between "theology" (which includes but is not limited to refelection upon
historical events) & "myth."
Theology is thinking about the faith - note that I say "the" faith,
not simply "your" faith because it is not simply a personal exercise. The
writers of Genesis were thinking about & writing down, under the Spirit's
guidance, the faith of Israel. Our task is to think about the Christian
faith, making use of the heritage of >3500 years of refelection of people
like them but not being limited to their categories. We are called, among
other things, to take very seriously what they wrote but also to be aware of
the quite different setting in which they wrote.
If we're using our brains at all we don't really have a choice about
whether or not be do theology, only of the quality & integrity of that
theology. Considering theology as an activity of pointy headed perfessers &
dismissing it as "foo" in favor of the ideas of just us simple will not
enhance the quality of one's theological reflection.
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
Walter Hicks wrote:
> george murphy wrote:
> > Walter Hicks wrote:
> > >
> > > > I'd probably agree with this, with the quick comment that
> > > "history" to the
> > > > ancient Hebrews is not to be equated with "history" to a 21st
> > > century mind.
> > >
> > > Let me suggest that the 21st century mind is then using _external_
> > > factors to force fit a theory into the Bible which was never
> > > intended by
> > > the writers (and was therefore never looked upon as such _until_ the
> > >
> > > 21st century)
> > OK, assume for the sake of argument that Gen.1:1-2:4a was
> > thought of by its human author as history - i.e., as an account of
> > things that actually happened. & assume the same for Gen.2.4b-25.
> > But what about the final redactor or editor of Genesis - the person
> > who put these manifestly different accounts down side by side? Did
> > that person think of the whole of Gen.1-2 as an accurate account of
> > things that actually happened?
> > Maybe. But it seems pretty clear that that final editor
> > thought of history in a way quite different from the assumptions of
> > modern historiographers - none of who would simply put two accounts
> > like those together with no comment on their differences or attempts
> > at harmonization. But in Genesis there is simply no sign of the type
> > of thing that conservative interpreters want to do in harmonizing the
> > two accounts. They're just there - take it or leave it.
> > & this is by no means the only example in the Bible. There
> > are numerous examples other examples in the Bible of different
> > accounts of the same thing which are not, let us say, easily
> > reeconcilable as straightforward historical accounts but are simply
> > set down together without any attempt to clean up the differences.
> > E.g., in I Sam.16:14-23 Saul has come to know David and "loved him
> > well" but in 16:55-58 he doesn't know him at all.
> > Now spare me the harmonizations because the point is that
> > those who put the biblical writings in their final form apparently
> > weren't at all concerned with such an activity. They were content to
> > leave such accounts unharmonized. So perhaps we should consider the
> > possibility that their understanding of history & historical writing
> > was quite different from ours.
> > & lest anyone be put off by my reference to "editors" or
> > "redactors", note that my argument does not really depend on these
> > concepts. In fact, if both Genesis accounts were written by Moses the
> > difference between the biblical way of looking at history & ours
> > would, if anything, be even clearer.
> It is difficult for a plain vanilla Christian like me to respond to
> posts by those of you with a deep theological background. However, I
> believe that the Bible we have is written more for the benefit of us
> ordinary folk than for theologians, so I shall respond. Since the issue
> is "history", I will do it in terms of my own.
> I first was given a Bible in college when I was little more than a
> theist. I focused on the NT and immediately believed that I was reading
> the word of God. Within a short time I became (with much trepidation) a
> committed Christian. This was despite the fact that I considered the NT
> to be fraught with inconsistencies.
> I believed then, as I do now, that the Bible was written by "inspired"
> people who were, in fact, just people. They made errors and the various
> writers simply saw things differently as all people do. This stuff about
> "infallibility" just never "resonated" with me. It is only in the past
> few years that I have even read the entire OT. Much of it was as dull as
> ever. However, the first few books are as exciting as ever.
> In Genesis 1, I saw (and see) ancients who believed that the earth was
> flat and the sky was a bowl shaped object overhead. Evidently they also
> thought water came from the sky. I believed the same thing myself when I
> was a child by just observing the environment around me. I would expect
> no more for ancient mankind. However, Genesis 1 had things in it that
> defied any logical reason that I could come with for its inclusion in an
> ancient book like that - other than true "revelation". (The relative
> consistency with evolution for example). Then on to Chapter 2 etc. I
> thought (think) that it was a new perspective - how God interacted with
> man. It was exciting (still is)!
> Some people have problems with apparent inconsistencies in the Bible. I
> do not. While everybody on this list finds it necessary to think of God
> as wired into our own time frame, I think that is demeaning to God's
> nature. He exists outside of time and does more than "chew gum and walk
> at the same time". Just because we don't understand all of it, that
> does not make it a fairy tale --- nor do we have to slam it into our own
> time frame. For example why is it inconsistent to have God first create
> man and then animals and then do the opposite? Can he not work outside
> of time and do two different things? We can in computer simulations and
> yet we think that he cannot in space-time? (wild!)
> Clearly, I thought (think) Adam was introduced into the race of existing
> humans at a rather late date. The reason is that agriculture, and other
> things existed and it would appear that it had to be fairly recently. It
> also seemed as though other people existed besides Adam's immediate
> family. (e.g. How could Cain start a "city" with only his own kids?)
> Some people would squawk and say "what about the salvation of earlier
> humanoids?" All I can say is that Jesus is in charge of who is saved and
> who is not. It is not for us to judge or seriously raise such questions.
> So, with respect to your notion that Genesis 1-11 is a myth (whoops, I
> mean "theology"), I say "foo". Let me repeat that: "foo". Trying saying
> it: "foo" (instead of "theology"). I just know that you can, George.
> Genesis was history to folks before the 21st century and modern science
> has not changed the truths of the Bible. IMHO
> Walt Hicks <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> In any consistent theory, there must
> exist true but not provable statements.
> (Godel's Theorem)
> You can only find the truth with logic
> If you have already found the truth
> without it. (G.K. Chesterton)
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun May 05 2002 - 10:04:41 EDT