RE: Another thing people can throw rocks at

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Sun May 12 2002 - 11:40:53 EDT

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    Hi Burgy,

    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: []On
    >Behalf Of JW Burgeson
    >Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2002 12:48 PM

    >Glenn wrote: " I would merely ask here, how you used the scientific method
    >to determine that a non-historical poem is theologically true? I don't
    >really think that is possible--i.e. to use science or a scientific mindset
    >to determine theological truth. Could you explain how this is done?"
    >I do not think it is possible either, my friend. As george puts it -- start
    >with the cross. My conviction that Jesus is the Christ comes from the HS
    >working on me (after I asked). All else flows from that.
    >"why I can't go with the more liberal approach to the Scripture. It would
    >mean doing what I did as a YEC--using science from Monday to Friday and
    >avoiding science and a common methodology on the weekends and after work. I
    >don't want to go back to that failed methodology, which I think you are
    >actually using. :-)"
    >Christ is Lord of all -- or He is not Lord at all.

    Agreed, but this presents problems for our interpretation of the Scripture.

    >But in one sense you are quite right. I do not use science (scientific
    >techniques and mindset) to apprehend God. That does not work. I see you as
    >trying to use the scientific technique to apprehend God -- this is probably
    >what I meant when I said you had the "YEC mindset."

    NO, this is what I have never been able to get across successfully on this
    list. I am NOT apprehending God, I am apprehending the message (book) which
    purports to be FROM God. One can use science and historical methods to do
    that. Indeed, the 19th higher criticism started this effort and they
    concluded that there was no history in the document and rejected it. I
    actually understand their approach. What I dont' understand is saying it has
    no history but is true non-the-less, but now in a theological fashion. To
    me, this smacks of moving the goal line when the football team (American) is
    on the 2 yard line. It means that the Bible simply is declared to be

    ANd I think that
    >technique is doomed to failure. Apprehending God is much more mystical.
    >William James seems to have a good handle on this in his 1902
    >lectures later

    If apprehending God was the goal, then I agree with you. But it isn't. It is
    looking at the message and what it purports to be.

    >Apprehending God is not the only human activity that cannot (or should not)
    >be approached with a scientific mindset. Marriage is one that
    >comes to mind.
    >An artist painting a sunset. The courtship of a man and a woman. The
    >nurturing of a baby by its mother. Listening to Handel's Messiah. Etc etc.

    But with a painting, a beautiful musical piece like the Messiah or some of
    the Celtic music I have come to love over here, there is no truth value at
    all. One doesn't go out and proclaim the truth of Inna-god-da-vida (A
    misspelled version of that old Iron Butterfly song). Nor does one proclaim
    that the painting of a sunset is false. One merely likes it or hates it. But
    with early genesis one can claim that it is true or false, and then if it is
    false and teaching 'truths' as music or art does, we should be consistent
    and not claim that it is true any more than we would claim that the song in
    Deliverance, Dueling Banjo's, is true.

    >One always wonders how many points of correspondence might satisfy you.

    Why not push for as much as we can get and then settle for what we actually

    >Suppose we find -- say -- three points of correspondence. Will that be
    >enough? What do you say to a person who says three are insufficient -- he
    >needs four? And on and on.

    YEs, but how few points make it work for you? You did say that if the
    entire OT was false you would find it difficult to maintain your belief
    system. We are merely at two diffferent ends of the spectrum. You wonder
    how many I need, I wonder how few you require. :-)

    >"The first message does have a lot to do with history and science. The
    >universe came into being either as a result of eternally existing natural
    >forces alone or as the result of eternally existing divine will."
    >Or maybe both.

    Yes, both, but if the divine wasn't at least involved, then we got troubles
    in our faith.

    >" By universe I mean all that there is. If God came into being with the
    >universe, then he is part of the Universe and not the creator of it."
    >But who here (or anywhere) is arguing that? Nobody that I know.
    >Not even the
    >Process Theologians.

    I didn't say that anyone was arguing that position. I am covering options.
    Some people in the world beyond our small cloistered Christian world, do
    indeed argue
    for such a position.

    One of the reason we often talk past each other is that I never limit the
    inquiry to the Christian options only. The world is much bigger. THere is
    pantheism as well as theism. There is polytheism as well as monotheism. For
    all, when I am discussing these issues I have never, ever merely limited the
    possibilities to the Christian possibility. For if the Bible is wrong and
    Christianity false, then one must cast a wide net. It isn't useful or very
    thoughtful philosophically to merely say that the Baptists are wrong, or
    that the Lutherens are wrong or even that the process theologians are wrong.
    The options are more fundamental and lie at a deeper level of theology.


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