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

From: George Murphy (
Date: Sat Mar 22 2003 - 08:03:07 EST

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    Jim Armstrong wrote:
    > Actually, neither. I personally like the "two books" perspective, and
    > note that the testament of nature is patient and uninflected, with
    > authorship unquestioned. JimA

            I'd have to question this. In the 1st place, the "book" metaphor tempts us to
    understand the Bible as God's basic revelation, rather as Muslims see the Qur'an. But
    it is Jesus Christ who is God's fundamental revelation, & the Bible is the witness to
    that revelation.
            Then there is the fact that the authorship of the "testament of nature" _is_
    questioned: That's the whole difference between those who believe the Christian
    doctrine of creation & those who don't - though of course atheists would use some
    impersonal language rather than "authorship.") Christians know the author of the book of
    nature because they've read the other book first! I think Nancey Murphy put it well
    (though perhaps without adequate attention to my 1st point) in commenting on a paper of
    Owen Gingerich about the anthropic coincidences:

    "Gingerich uses the metaphor of the two books, the Book of Scripture and the Book of
    Nature, both pointing to God. However, it seems clear to me, based on the
    considerations I have raised here, that these books ought not to be read independently
    of one another. In fact, the Book of Nature ought to be read as a sequel to the Bible.
    As with the sequel to a novel, it is important to read the first volume to find out
    about the characters. Or to drop the metaphor, we get our hypothesis of design from
    revelation. Discoveries like the fine tuning come along later, and their strength as
    evidence lies in confirming an already-existing hypothesis that already has other
    confirmation from other realms of experience. Without revelation, we would be at a loss
    to know what we mean by designer in such arguments."

                    (Nancey Murphy in _Science and Theology_, edited by Murray Rae, Hilary
                    Regan, and John Stenhouse [Eerdmans, Grand Rapids MI, 1994], pp.69-70.)
    George L. Murphy

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