Re: Did Peter walk on water?

From: george murphy (gmurphy@raex.com)
Date: Wed Sep 25 2002 - 07:57:39 EDT

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    "Terry M. Gray" wrote:

    > 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"?

             My statement was made when this topic was proposed just after a rather
    unsatisfactory go-around on Jonah, in which the possibility that that
    book might not
    be an account of actual events was brushed off with pseudo-arguments
    like those I
    note below. I intended to characterize as naive those who
    continually rely on such
    arguments in order to hold onto a belief that essentially everything
    in scripture is
    accurate historical narrative. (& I might add a fourth type of
    argument, "It might
    have been so it was." E.g., Jesus might have healed one blind man as
    he entered
    Jericho & two - of whom Mark only mentions one, though by name - as
    he left, o it
    really happened that way.)
             This sort of thinking makes it difficult to examine the texts
    seriously, &
    can get in the way of serious reflection on their significance.
    E.g., I would point
    out that the text Walt brought up is about Jesus walking on _the sea_
    (not simply
    the water or, as NIV puts it, "the lake"), & the point is that Jesus
    is the creator
    of the world who overcomes chaos &c. But I can easily imagine
    someone responding,
    "But what I want to know is, did Peter really walk on water?"

    > 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

             Which simple question? To the first I answer, "Yes." The
    others aren't so
    obvious.

    > 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 didn't say he didn't!
             The sermon is being sent separately.
                                                                             Shalom,
                                                                             George

    >
    >
    > TG
    >
    > > 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
    > >ago.
    > >
    > >Shalom,
    > >
    > >George
    > >
    > >George L. Murphy
    > >http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
    > >"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 <wallyshoes@mindspring.com>
    > >>
    > >> 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
    > grayt@lamar.colostate.edu http://www.chm.colostate.edu/~grayt/
    > phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801



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