From: Jim Armstrong (email@example.com)
Date: Wed Mar 19 2003 - 01:06:04 EST
Mmm, I suppose one might be led to enquire in such a circumstance, "What
theory do you follow in interpreting scripture?" Maybe I'll give that a
try next time the T word comes up in this context! - Jim Armstrong
Peter Ruest wrote:
>Gary Collins wrote:
>>>From: "Michael Roberts" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>>Subject: Re: test questions-old topic
>>>Pray for us Brits Ken Ham is on tour this month and I dont know whether
>>>anyone will turn him into a pork pie.
>>We need it. He came to Brighton at the Weekend and gave 5 sessions
>>co-hosted by two churches, one of which was mine.
>>Perhaps the thing I objected to most was his forceful insistence that unless
>>you accept literally the words of the Bible - and of Genesis 1 to 11 in particular -
>>you are undermining, or not accepting the authority of the scripture. I see this
>>as a slight not only on myself, but on respected conservative theologians such
>>as J.I. Packer and F.F. Bruce and I'm sure there are many more who could be
>>I feel I really need to write something to my pastor, but I'm not sure yet what
>>approach I should use. A scientific approach would be of no use, because
>>Ken said - and quite correctly - that interpretation of data is theory-laden, and if
>>I approach from this angle I expect it would merely be dismissed as "not looking
>>through Bible glasses" (any of you who have seen this presentation will know
>>all about this, and the emphasis put upon it).
>>The only approach I can think of that might be successful is to try to undermine
>>Ken's assumption that the literal interpretation is the only valid - or the most valid -
>>way to approach Genesis 1 to 11. I am thinking of drawing fairly heavily on Henri
>>Blocher's book "In the Beginning" to achieve this. Also, Alan Hayward (sp?) has
>>a useful section in his book "Creation and Evolution: The Facts and Fallacies."
>>I would value the advice of others, though; and especially if any of you have been
>>in this situation, I would love to hear from you and find out the approaches you
>>have used, and how effective - or otherwise - they proved to be.
>I am in the middle of such a discussion with a young-earth creationist
>(who has published a book-long theological defense of the young-earth
>The crucial point he doesn't seem to check is that there is a close
>parallel between the theological treatment of the Bible and the
>scientific treatment of nature (or creation). We have two "books" of
>God, his Word (in the Bible), and his work (in creation). The biblical
>text (originals) is data, and the creation is data. But theology is
>interpretation, and science is interpretation. Data are given - they
>are, in a sense, God's truth, which is absolutely reliable (although we
>are not able to see all of it directly, both with the biblical originals
>and with the realities of creation). We cannot change the data, we can
>at most falsify or obscure it. But any interpretation, be it of biblical
>texts or of observations in nature, are the work of fallible humans. Its
>reliability has certain probabilities, which range from 0 to somewhere
>below 100%. Any interpretations must be subject to revision if
>necessary. Any pitting of "the Bible" against "science" is therefore a
>confusion of categories, and therefore mistaken.
>There is no "literal interpretation" of the Bible which would be immune
>from human fallibility. I believe we have to take the (original)
>biblical text "literally", in the sense of respecting the way the divine
>Author led the human authors to formulate and later copyists to transmit
>it: we must not change any of it. But we cannot evade interpreting it -
>any reading of it automatically is an interpretation, which has to be
>evaluated. So I would not discuss whether Gen.1-11 has to be taken
>"literally" or not. The question is how these words are meant to be
>interpreted. And this cannot be other than "theory-laden", just as with
>scientific interpretations. There is no priority of the interpretations
>of one type of data (biblical text) over those of another type of data
>(creation). There only is priority of God's data (in the Bible and in
>creation) over its interpretation (in both domains).
>I hope this helps.
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