Date: Tue May 27 2003 - 23:53:12 EDT
JIM: [Major Premise]:A work credited to an omnipotent being of truth doesn't
PAUL: If you have no objective basis for your major premise, you have no
objective basis for your conclusion that Genesis was not inspired by God,
and hence you have no objective basis for your decision to turn to atheism.
JIM: Paul, I just don't know how much more objective it gets than this.
This premise ignores the purpose of the communication and insists that it be
inerrant in science even though teaching science is not part of its purpose.
This is not objective at all. It is an arbitrary rationalistic assumption. You
may have heard it so many times or have become so attached to it that you do
not realize it is purely subjective.
Let me give you an historical parallel. Between the time that planets were
discovered to orbit the sun and when Kepler figured out Mars had an elliptical
orbit, it was assumed by Christians (influenced by Aristotle) that the circle
was the perfect shape because every point is equally distant from the center.
So, it was assumed that the planets would travel in a circular pattern around
the sun, because God is perfect and hence would use a perfect shape for the
orbits of the planets. Their assumption could have been stated, "A planet
credited to an omnipotent perfect creator doesn't show up in an elliptical orbit."
An atheist could then argue, "The planets are in an elliptical orbit;
therefore they were not created by an omnipotent perfect creator." It is a logical
conclusion, but it is based on a purely rationalistic subjective assumption.
Your reasoning is exactly the same. Your major premise is equally arbitrary. You
need to move from rationalism to reality.
I told the story of the missionary's translation as an example of the fact
that in the _real_ world ideas are best communicated by employing the standard
ideas of a culture. One is asking for misunderstanding and disbelief if truths
contrary to the beliefs of a primitive culture are presented as if mere
intelligence was all that is necessary for people to understand them. I will give
you an example:
Anna Leonowens, an English lady, was hired by the King of Siam (Thailand) in
the 19th century to educate his many children. In the course of her teaching
she happened to mention that in her country when it is cold sometimes water
comes down from the sky as white very cold flakes. The children, never having
seen or heard of such a thing, thought she was telling them a big lie and did not
believe her. In fact, here Siamese teacher's aid told her that if she
continued to tell the children such tall tales they would not believe anything she
said. This incident caused so much negative reaction that her teaching could not
continue until the king, who was educated in England, came in and verified
her story. This is history. This is the real world.
So, when I say that in Scripture God accommodated his revelation to the
science of the times, this is indeed a "stretch" from the standpoint of your
rationalistic assumption, but it is not a stretch from the standpoint of reality.
YECism, concordism, and now your atheism all rest upon the same rationalistic
assumption, and that assumption is divorced from the real world. You can do
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