From: bivalve (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu May 15 2003 - 11:24:47 EDT
>If God can do anything, why can't he break his own laws? So maybe the flood wasn't in 2900BC. Maybe it was in 5000BC and there isn't any evidence of it.<
Note that this is contrary to the claims of creation science, which claims that there is evidence of it. Likewise, the problem of all the havoc that would be caused if the earth simply stopped rotating is a challenge to "scientific" explanations. E.g., it is one of many failings of Velikovsky's claim that gravitational effects of a giant comet caused the earth to stop turning. God knows all the things that would need to be done to stop the earth without destroying it; a comet does not.
It's also important to remember that Christianity is based on the truth of historical events (particularly the life, death and resurrection of Jesus). Thus, asserting that historical evidence is unreliable is risky and theologically hard to justify. How do we know that the events of the New Testament do not also fall in the category of appearance rather than reality, like the Matrix or the holodeck?
> turned it back for someone else<
A shadow went backwards for Hezekiah (II Kings 20, Isaiah 38). By what means is unspecified; the fact that it is a specific shadow seems problematic for the suggestion that the earth's rotation was temporarily reversed.
>On a very serious note, where does one draw the line? ... But how does one discern what is literal?<
I think the second question is generally more important than the first. Do we regard a phrase or passage as figurative because consideration of the intent of the Spirit, working through the authors and editors, suggests it or because we do not like the implications of a literal interpretation? I do not think the interpretation of particular details is the proper criterion for theological acceptability; rather, it is whether someone is taking the text seriously.
Of course, this leaves a large loophole in the definition of details versus essentials.
Dr. David Campbell
University of Alabama
Biodiversity & Systematics
Dept. Biological Sciences
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0345 USA
That is Uncle Joe, taken in the masonic regalia of a Grand Exalted Periwinkle of the Mystic Order of Whelks-P.G. Wodehouse, Romance at Droitgate Spa
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