Re: The Problem of Liberal Theology

From: george murphy (
Date: Thu May 09 2002 - 22:00:14 EDT

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    Glenn Morton wrote:
      Shuan, I see the liberal doing exactly the same thing as the YEC. The YEC

    > holds that the Bible is true according to their interpretation regardless of
    > what data contradicts it. The liberal holds that the Bible is telling us
    > truths which are absolutely unverifiable by any scientific standard. Thus it
    > doesn't matter a whole lot that the Bible tells us silly things about
    > talking snakes because it was never meant to tell us about the scientific
    > view of the world. It is true theologically. Both camps declare the Bible
    > true no matter what the contradiction is or how embarrassing the Biblical
    > story is. Frankly, I think both approaches stink, but then, there I go
    > again, ruffling feathers.

             I am not a liberal - a statement I make not to clear my theological
    honor but because the theological truth that I think the Bible
    conveys includes
    a great deal that many "liberals" wouldn't be interested in defending
    (resurrection, Incarnation, &c).
             Having said that - your argument just won't do. Because the really
    important things that the Bible claims - that God is the creator of the
    universe, that God got Israel out of Egypt, that Jesus is truly
    divine and truly
    human, that "whoever believes in him shall not perish but have
    everlasting life"
    &c - are not things that can be verified. You can make a good scientific case
    for a temporal origin of the universe, but not that God created it. You can
    make an historical argument for the Exodus, but not that God acted in any
    distinctive way to bring it about. You can make a convincing argument for the
    historical character of a lot in the gospels, including the basic fact of the
    resurrection - but you can't verify that Jesus was God Incarnate.
    And you can't
    prove historically or scientifically that God justifies sinners for Christ's
             & no, you have never said that you could prove these things. But the
    point is that after verifying to your satisfaction that the flood, or the
    creation of humanity, or whatever events you wish really happened as the Bible
    says - you are still faced with theological claims which cannot be verified.
             Certainly some degree of historical accuracy of scripture is important
    for faith in Christ because scripture is our basic witness to Christ. But in
    that case why not deal with the NT documents, which are closer & more
    germane to
    the Christ event? Even if you can provide a convincing argument that
    the events
    of Gen.6-9 really happened 5 x 10^6 years ago, it's a tremendous stretch to
    claim that you've provided any additional reason to belief the theological
    claims made in the NT.
             The bottom line is that it is the theological claims that are
    whatever percentage of accurate historical narrative you think scripture
    contains, & those claims are ultimately matters of faith, even though
    they refer
    to historical events. You might be able to verify that Jesus suffered under
    Pontius Pilate but not that the Son of God did.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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