Re: The forgotten verses - corrected

From: George Murphy (
Date: Sat Jun 14 2003 - 14:46:51 EDT

  • Next message: Vernon Jenkins: "Re: The forgotten verses"

    Perhaps this is unnecessary but I seem to have doen an even worse job of proofreading
    than usual. Here's a corrected version of my post of earlier today.

    George Murphy wrote:
    > Vernon Jenkins wrote:
    > > George,
    > >
    > > 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 100 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. 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 (it seems) 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 sin.
    > >
    > > 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.
    > Shalom,
    > George

    George L. Murphy

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