I too hold the creation important. After all , the first line of the
Apostles Creed is " I believe in God the Father, maker of heaven and earth".
I believe that Genesis 1, Ps 104, and Job 838 and 39 all assert that God is
the creator. But they do it in mythopoetic language. in all three cases the
writers are trying to evoke the wonderworking power of God, not give a blow
by blow description of how the world was created or a comprehensive list of
what was created. To say that these are poetic testimonies asserting that
God created the universe does not mean that God is therefore not the
creator.One problem is many people regard Gen 1 as THE creation acount, and
fail to remember that it is one of several.
Genesis 2 and 3 says God created Man, who later rebelled against him. Again,
symbolic and poetic language is used, and I doubt that anyone on the list
believes that God was literally walking around on two legs in the garden
looking for Adam.Even YECs believe that the talking snake symbolizes Satan,
and was not a literal, walking, talking snake. Many Christian "literalists"
understand the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
to be symbolic.Those who believe that there was a flood often say that it is
not literally global,etc, etc.
THe point is to say that Gen 1-11 is not literally true and uses
mythological language is not to say that its false.Myth does not = lie.If
you like, think of Gen 2-3 as a parable. There is some authority for the
view that God likes to teach in parables :)
Yo are right that the historical foundation for many of the apparently
historical accounts in the OT is shaky. That is true for much of ancient
history, BTW. Many historians doubt that Caesar' account of the Gallic
campaigns or Josephus' account of the Romano-Jewish War of AD 66-73 is
entirely historically accurate. However, they accept these accounts in the
absence of evidence to contrary
I accept the Biblical accounts unless there is strong evidence to the
contrary. That works for me. I have said that there is an irreducible
minimum in the OT that must be literally true.Under my method, the
IM -Creation, Exodus,Wilderness, Conquest, Monarchy, and Exile - is covered,
so long as we are sophisticated about what we mean by true. It is true that
God created the heavens and earth. It need not be true that we have in Gen
1-3 a precise description of the method.
Glenn, I'll let you have the last word, for now.(Sound familiar?)
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On
Behalf Of Glenn Morton
Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2002 1:06 PM
Subject: RE: The Problem of Liberal Theology
>From: Shuan Rose [mailto:email@example.com]
>Sent: Friday, May 10, 2002 3:00 PM
>To: george murphy; Glenn Morton
> A key question raised here by Glenn is what things in the
>Bible must we
>believe are true in order to hold on to our Christian faith. I like the
>statement on inspiration by the Pontifical Bible Commission:
>Guided by the Holy Spirit and in the light of the living tradition which it
>has received, the church has discerned the writings which should
>as sacred Scripture in the sense that, "having been written under the
>inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God for author and have been
>handed on as such to the church" ("Dei Verbum," 11) and contain "that truth
>which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our
>I am not Catholic but I would agree that the Bible is inspired in that
>contains "that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the
>sake of our salvation". I think that George is right to put the emphasis on
>the truth and historicity of Christ, not every assertion in the Bible.
I agree that a very interesting question is what must we believe in order to
hold our Christian faith. The answer will differ for different people. For
Burgy, if the entire OT were false, he would find it difficult. It would
take less for me.
A related question is how important to our faith are various events in the
past. To me, the creation is extremely important. No creation, no God, and
Jesus becomes irrelevant. So, if all of Genesis 1-11 is myth, then the
statement "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" also
become myth. And I feel really uncomfortable picking and choosing what
parts of early Genesis I will believe. It doesn't seem epistemologically
solid to say, I will believe Gen. 1:1 is real and tells me about history but
1:2-11:25 is myth with 11:26 on reverting to history. Why should I beleive
1:1 if it is in a sea of myth--and using myth as you have, meaning not
telling me history.
>Moreover, to quote Glenn's words back at him, if we wanted to play the
>doubting game, we would very quickly come to doubt everything in the Bible
>( and for that matter all ancient history).
I won't run from my words which were in a different context. (but I would
note that that is not a quote). In the context in which they were written
was one in which there is lots of verification of human-like activity among
the Neanderthals beyond what was being discussed at the time, which was bear
sacrifice. Neanderthals built walls, paved floors, built huts, made stone
tools which only a few modern people are able to make, they made flued
hearths, they invented coal mining, they invented music (unless it were
earlier peoples), they made jewelry, they fought each other, they built
altars, they traded objects over areas as large as 300 km and the doubt was
about whether or not they sacrificed bears. It was also doubt againsts the
backdrop of the majority of anthropological opinion about who and what the
Neanderthals were. Why is it so difficult, given that as a background, to
believe bear sacrifice occurred with people who did all the above?
And I believe, I was referring to the verification of the New Testament
events which can also have the doubting game played at them. But it is
different with early Genesis.
In the case you are trying to misuse my stand, it is against the backdrop of
NO historical verification of Biblical events well past the Judges. There is
no background of verification against which doubts are being raised. Without
a background of verification, there is no reason NOT to doubt. To play the
doubting game on the Book of Mormon which has chariots and horses in
pre-Columbian North America is a reasonable game to play. There are no
horse bones or chariots found in archaological sites prior to 1492.
> I would recommend a look at THE INTERPRETATION OF THE BIBLE IN THE CHURCH
>by the Pontifical Biblical Commission, available online at
>The Roman Catholics did a thorough job, and it is mostly free of explicitly
I took a look and noticed the constant reference to 'Dei Verbum'
pronouncements by the popes. Dei verbum as everyone knows means the 'word
of God'. The question I am concerned with above almost all is, 'How much
untruth can be in the Word of God before we should no longer trust 'The Word
of God'. It didn't take much falsehood for me to distrust the 'Word of
Clinton', nor does it take a lot of untruth for me to distrust the 'Word of
a Car Salesman/Saleswoman'. So, to me the truly interesting question is, How
trusting of God should we be if what we are told in what is called God's
Word is actually false? How much falsity brings the whole thing down like a
house of cards?
for lots of creation/evolution information
personal stories of struggle
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