Re: YEC and interpretations (was: Re: asa-digest V1 #3214)

From: John Burgeson (
Date: Wed Mar 19 2003 - 16:32:38 EST

  • Next message: John Burgeson: "Re: Ken Ham"

    Allen wrote many words; among them were: "YECs typically start with the
    stated Biblical points of a creation of the Biosphere within a week of 7
    planet rotations some 6000 +/- years ago and a global cataclysm (typically
    called Creationism)."

    At least one YEC I have read claims that only the last three days were
    earth-rotations and the first three someting else.

    Allen also wrote: "The typical Evolutionist starts with Ontological
    Naturalism (or its heir Methodological Naturalism)."

    That can be taken as a simple definition of the word "evolutionist," I
    suppose. But in its more useful meaning, one who accepts the evolutionary
    concepts as a useful scientific paradigm, it is not true at all.


    >From: allenroy <>
    >To:, "" <>
    >Subject: Re: YEC and interpretations (was: Re: asa-digest V1 #3214)
    >Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2003 10:00:51 -0700
    >Peter Ruest wrote:
    >>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
    >>creationist postulate).
    >>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.
    >I and most YECs that I know would pretty much agree with this. Except that
    >we have supernatural help in understanding (or interpreting) the Bible in
    >the form of the promised "Comforter" who Jesus sent to"lead us into all
    >truth." As long as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, then we can
    >arrive at what God means for us to understand from the Bible. With that in
    >mind, that is why one should never open the Bible unless we first ask God
    >the Spirit to guide and lead our thoughts.
    >As for interpreting the data from the natural world, the difference between
    >the typical YEC and Evolutionists of all types, is the foundational
    >assumptions within which scientific study is done. YECs typically start
    >with the stated Biblical points of a creation of the Biosphere within a
    >week of 7 planet rotations some 6000 +/- years ago and a global cataclysm
    >(typically called Creationism). The typical Evolutionist starts with
    >Ontological Naturalism (or its heir Methodological Naturalism). The
    >scientific method can be done equally well within either viewpoint. When
    >dealing with the here and now, both philosophies provide equivalent
    >results. It is when dealing with the past that the interpretations of
    >scientific data within the paradigms diverge. The real issue is not that
    >one or the other side does not understand science or is unable to do proper
    >science. Rather, the real issue, the real conflict, is found in the
    >foundational assumptions. Can Creationism and Ontological Naturalism be
    >harmonized or are they incompatible. Can Creationism and Methodological
    >Naturalism be harmonized or are they also incompatible. The typical YEC
    >believe that the philosophical differences between Creationism and
    >Naturalism (of either form) are completely incompatible. I believe that
    >the typical Theistic Evolutionists (and others of similar beliefs) believe
    >that Creationism and Natrualism can be harmonized. One can read about such
    >attempts at harmonizing on many web pages provided by many members of this
    >group. The YECs point out however, that ALL such harmonizing involves
    >starting with Naturalism (either form) and interpreting the Bible within
    >it. Some might argue that Methodological Naturalism is an attempt to
    >harmonize Ontological Naturalism through Biblical eyes. However, most YECs
    >will argue that it modifing Ontological Naturalism inot Methodological
    >Naturlaism doesn't go far enough and besides that, it is completely
    >unnecessary to use any form of Naturalism. All the necessary assumptions
    >requried to conduct the scientific method are found within Creationism.
    >>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).
    >In the discussion on "literal" inerpretation of the Bible, many YECs find
    >that the term "literal" has been interpreted by critics and skeptic to mean
    >that every single word of the Bible is to be taken absolutly literal. This
    >is not how most YECs use the term "literal." (but I'm sure you can find
    >some who do.) Because the inaccurate definition used by the critics is so
    >pervasive in society now, many YECs are now beginning to use the term
    >"straight forward reading" rather than "literal reading," to describe the
    >common sense method they use to read the Bible. Just as we all have
    >learned to communicate, read and write using an assortmen of obvious
    >literary methods, the same approach is applied to the Bible. It is
    >recognized that the Bible is written in obvious literary structures such as
    >prose, poety, prophetic symbolisms, metaphores, idoms, etc. It doesn't
    >take a rocket scientist or theologian with advanced degrees to get the
    >obvious messages from the Bible.
    >I have found that when reading Genesis 1:11 nearly everyone agrees that if
    >it is read in a straight forward manner then the interpretation of the
    >texts would likely be very similar to the typical YEC interpretation.
    >However, when faced with the interpretation of natural world through
    >Ontological or Methodological Naturalism which simply does not fit the
    >straight forward interpretation of Genesis, that one must make some
    >difficult choices. Can one "intellectually" throw out the "Science" of
    >Methodological Naturalism? Does one have to make "Faith" decision and
    >shut your eyes to 'science?' I believe that there is another option, do
    >you science within the philosophical foundation of Creationism rather than
    >any form of Naturalism.
    >"I have been shown that, without Bible history, geology can prove nothing.
    >Relics found
    >in the earth do give evidence of a state of things differing in many
    >respects from the
    >present. But the time of their existence, and how long a period these
    >things have been in
    >the earth, are only to be understood by Bible history. It may be innocent
    >to conjecture
    >beyond Bible history, if our suppositions do not contradict the facts found
    >in the sacred
    >Scriptures. But when men leave the word of God in regard to the history of
    >creation, and
    >seek to account for God's creative works upon natural principles, they are
    >upon a
    >boundless ocean of uncertainty. Just how God accomplished the work of
    >creation in six
    >literal days, he has never revealed to mortals. His creative works are just
    >incomprehensible as his existence." Ellen Gould Harmon White, 1864

    Protect your PC - get VirusScan Online

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Wed Mar 19 2003 - 16:33:14 EST