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

From: Peter Ruest (
Date: Sat Mar 22 2003 - 00:37:28 EST

  • Next message: Jim Armstrong: "Re: YEC and interpretations (was: Re: asa-digest V1 #3214)"

    In a message dated 3/19/03 1:07:42 AM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

    > 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
    > next time the T word comes up in this context! - Jim Armstrong

    Hi, Jim

    I'm not quite sure whether you are being ironic or even sarcastic
    here... But anyhow, for normal Bible reading, a prayerful attitude and
    open mind is usually sufficient. But the topic addressed was YEC
    interpretations. In the context of Gen.1-2, you may find my current
    "theory" under A. Held & P. Rüst, "Genesis reconsidered", PSCF 51/4
    (Dec. 1999), 231-243;, and, if you want
    some more, under P. Rüst, "Creative providence in biology", PSCF 53/3
    (Sept. 2001), 179-183; + ... RustFig1.jpg;
    ... Ruest.html

    My answer to Gary Collins' question about how to react to Ken Ham and
    YEC in general was:

    >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.
    >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).


    Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
    <> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
    "..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)

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