From: George Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Jun 14 2003 - 13:00:42 EDT
Vernon Jenkins wrote:
> As the final paragraph of your latest response you wrote:
> "What your claims seem to come down to is that Vernon Jenkins has been
> sufficiently freed from the power of sin to know the truth, and that
> all who disagree with him on these matters are - literally - insane.
> If that's your view - whether or not you explicitly avow it - then
> there's no point in continuing this conversation."
> I make no such claims, but simply draw attention to certain 'forgotten
> verses' which strongly suggest that the Christian needs to exercise
> great care in deducing - from whatever observational data is available
> - anything that is likely to impugn the Scriptures.
Again I agree that one should not "impugn the Scriptures." But arguing for an
old earth and biological evolution impugns the Scriptures only if Genesis can be read
only as historical narrative which, as I think I've shown, it doesn't.
Suppose we have a bright young Christian who is interested in geology. He
firmly trusts in Jesus as his savior & believes that the Bible is true, but has never
given a great deal of thought to questions of biblical chronology. (His Bible doesn't
have Bp. Ussher's dates in the center column.) He starts studying varved clay
sediments, which in certain localities in Scandinavia can be traced back year by year
for long periods of time. He goes back 1000 years - no problem. Back 1000 years - no
problem. He keeps going - 2000, 3000 years. No sign of anything catastrophic or
disruptive taking place & the sediments keep up their regular pattern of variation he
must. But if he keeps on going much past 6000 years before present then (according to
a strict YEC account) the corrupting effects of original sin have kicked in and deluded
him. The varves don't indicate real ages past about 4004 B.C.
The external evidence seems to indicate ages a lot greater than 6000 years but
Vernon Jenkins must hold that our young geologist and anyone who believes that these
ages are real is, in some sense, crazy - deluded by the effects of effects of original
> Let me now, for the sake of argument, accept your suggested parallel
> between the parable of the Good Samaritan and the Genesis 1 account of
> the Creation, viz that neither need be literally true to achieve its
> respective purpose in the divinely-inspired text. But if you
> believe the Creation narrative to be an accurate but _figurative_
> account of what in reality is a theistic evolutionary process
> extending over aeons of time then, I suggest, there will be certain
> inevitable expectations, viz (1) a clear mapping of the written
> details onto significant events in this assumed process, and (2) a
> clear harmonisation of the orders in which those events occurred.
> Accordingly, how do you respond to the point that, according to
> Genesis 1, birds are created _before_ land animals (Gn.1: 20, 24)?
> Evolutionary theory, of course, requires that this order be
> reversed. Again, what is the evolutionary parallel to the 'division of
> the waters' (Gn.1:6,7)?
> Another problem arises in connection with the 6 days of creative
> activity followed by 1 day of rest. Clearly, these are important
> features in the Creation narrative. What would you say are the
> parallels in the evolutionary account?
> You may be interested to observe that here, in the very first chapter
> of the Bible, we have an explicit example of numerical
> geometry involving the expression of 7 as a hexagon of 6-around-1
> - this figure, a derivative (by self-intersection) of 10 as triangle.
> Further, observe that the self-union of the same triangle
> generates the hexagram 13 -revealing the 12-around-1 feature of the
> tribes of Israel/God and the disciples/Jesus.
I repeat that I have not said that Genesis 1 is a parable. My argument was
simply to show that there is a variety of literary types, all of which are capable of
conveying God's truth, in the Bible. I certainly don't believe that Genesis 1 is an
_allegory_ with a one-to-one correspondence between items in the text and a scientific
account of origins - e.g., days of creation corresponding to geological ages. Genesis 1
can be read on a number of levels but for Christians it functions (or should) in the
most fundamental way as a theological statement about God's creation of, and
relationship with, the world and humanity. It says that the world was created by God
alone, by God's Word, and that creation is good. It suggests (I would not put it more
strongly) that God created living things from the materials of the world. It says that
humanity is given a special place and special responsibilities in creation. It suggests
(with the Sabbath) a goal of creation.
This is, of course, not intended as an exhaustive theological intepretation: I
touch just a few major points. This provides part (not the whole - cf., e.g., Genesis
2) of the theological context in which, among other things, our scientific understanding
of origins is to be seen.
George L. Murphy
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