Re: Did Peter walk on water?

From: Terry M. Gray (
Date: Wed Sep 25 2002 - 02:01:40 EDT

  • Next message: Inge Frette: ""Science and religion""

    George and the others who've commented on this thread,

    While we all admit that there's a certain amount of theologizing
    going on in the gospels, i.e. each writer (under the inspiration of
    the Holy Spirit) has a theological purpose that goes beyond the mere
    reporting of some space-time event, is there any reason from the text
    to think that the events reported didn't happen? I don't quite
    understand the reservation in acknowledging that Peter (and Jesus)
    "actually, physically, historically" walked on the water.

    Why are folks who want to affirm the actual, physical, historical
    event labeled "naifs"?

    And to Jan, while it is clear that our modern journalistic style
    historiography may differ from Biblical standards, it is not clear to
    me that it's consequently unintelligible to the casual reader who
    hasn't done lots of seminary work in the orginal languages.

    When I was in high school I ran across a book called *The Sacred
    Mushroom and the Cross* that argued (as a result of much scholarly
    research) that the NT accounts were symbolic texts for a sex and drug
    cult developed around some hallucinogenic mushroom. The Lord
    graciously spared me from becoming practitioner.

    The New Testament is profoundly rooted in history, notwithstanding
    the theological purposes of the authors and the use of individual
    pericopes. Are we so nervous about mindless fundamentalism that we
    can't acknowledge this? Can't we just say yes to Walter's simple
    question and then ask the "deeper" questions -- What do we learn
    about Christ? What do we learn about faith? Why is this passage here?
    Why are there differences in the different gospel accounts? Etc.

    Anyway, George, I'm interested in your sermon if you provide a
    textual / contextual / metatextual reason for thinking that Peter
    didn't "actually, physically, historically" walk on the water.


    > I predict that the "discussion" of this topic on this list will be a
    >100% waste of time. It may be that some folks who are aware of the
    >importance of the theological significance of scripture and the varieties of
    >biblical literature will attampt to contribute but they will meet a stone
    >wall in the naifs who will say
    > a. I don't care what it means - did Peter actually, physically,
    >historically, walk on water?,
    > b. Well, God _could_ have made it happen so it did, &
    > c. If you don't believe Peter walked on water, you can't believe in
    >the resurrection.
    >So gentlement, include me out. However, I would be happy to send anyone
    >interested a copy of the sermon I preached on the Matthew text a few weeks
    >George L. Murphy
    >"The Science-Theology Interface"
    >Walter Hicks wrote:
    >> Both the old and new testaments are used by the pastor of my church to
    >> illustrate points. Many on this list use the O.T. as containing many
    >> items which are "true" but not "historical". It does not matter all
    >> that much to me -- except for the uncommon usage of the word "true".
    >> The N.T. (to me) is a different story. I definitely do not much believe
    >> scholars like Spong.
    >> So I ask this list for opinion.
    >> In the story about Peter walking on water
    >> 1.) Is it true?
    >> 2.) Is it actual history -- i.e. did it really happen as an event in
    >> time and space?
    >> 3.) Does it even matter?
    >> I am prone to answer "yes" to all 3.
    >> Walt
    >> --
    >> ===================================
    >> Walt Hicks <>
    >> 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)
    >> ===================================

    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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