Re: Concordist sequence--why be a concordist?

From: Michael Roberts (
Date: Tue Jun 24 2003 - 13:40:38 EDT

  • Next message: "Re: Concordist sequence--why be a concordist?"

    Thanks Ted. I also have great respect for Hitchcock whose views are echoed
    in England. I think concordism was useful at that time but clearly came more
    and more forced, hence I take a more poetic view which does not deny that
    God created in history.

    Can all pray for the C of E at present, please

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Ted Davis" <>
    To: <>; <>
    Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2003 4:13 PM
    Subject: Re: Concordist sequence--why be a concordist?

    > "Howard J. Van Till" writes:
    > Having observed once again on this list several concordist attempts to
    > bring
    > pieces of early Genesis text into agreement (concord) with pieces of
    > modern
    > natural science, I am led to ask a series of closely related questions:
    > What is the purpose or goal of this exercise?
    > Why is concord expected?
    > Why is concord desired?
    > When specimens of concord have been crafted, what has been gained?
    > *******
    > I have not been a concordist myself for something like 20 years, but I
    > answer some of Howard's questions by letting one of the greatest 19th
    > century concordists speak on behalf of the position. I mean Edward
    > Hitchcock, professor of geology and natural theology--at Amherst College.
    > Author of the first geological surveys of
    > Massachusetts and Vermont, Hitchcock discovered the first dinosaur tracks
    > known in the Connecticut River Valley. Our
    > selection is taken from a late edition of his geology text, which his son
    > helped him update. Like Silliman, Hitchcock believed in
    > taking a concordist approach to science and the Bible; like Silliman, he
    > thought it important to include material on religion and
    > science in textbooks; like Benjamin Silliman, he was convinced of the
    > earth's great age, but unlike Silliman, he preferred the "gap theory" to
    > the "day-age theory" when it came to reconciling an old earth with
    > In several earlier editions of his textbook, Hitchcock
    > is less hesitant to state his exegetical preferences, but in this edition
    > prepared jointly with his son he is more irenical. Some of his
    > most interesting points involve natural theology, a subject dear to his
    > heart. His careful treatment of theological questions
    > suggested by the presence of death in the animal kingdom prior to the fall
    > of Adam and Eve, an issue that remains central to
    > contemporary debates on creation/evolution, is especially important.
    > (This material and the following comes from my website,
    > Here's some of Hitchcock's answers:
    > (1) Why be a concordist? Short answer: it's a great spiritual benefit to
    > have geology support Genesis.
    > His own reasons:
    > 1. Geology shows us that the existing system of things upon the globe had
    > beginning.
    > 2. In all the renditions of the globe from the earliest times, and in the
    > structure of all the organic beings that have
    > successively peopled it, we find the same marks of wise and benevolent
    > adaptation, as in existing races, and a perfect
    > unity of design extending through every period of the world's history.
    > 3. Geology furnishes many peculiar proofs of the Divine benevolence, so
    > peculiar that they have sometimes been quoted
    > in proof of penal inflictions.
    > 4. Geology furnishes interesting examples of what may be called
    > benevolence.
    > 5. Geology proves repeated special divine interpositions, or miracles, in
    > nature as well as special providences. [Howard will especially like that
    > one. :-) ]
    > 6. In spite of these evidences of Divine benevolence, geology unites with
    > all other sciences, and with, experience, in
    > showing the world to be in a fallen condition, and that this condition was
    > foreseen and provided for, long before man's
    > existence, so that he might find a world well adapted to a state of
    > probation.
    > [Hitchcock's supralapsarian views on death before the fall are highly
    > important historically, and ignored by YECs today.]
    > 7. Geology enlarges our conceptions of the plans of the Deity.
    > Overall, here's what Hitchcock said:
    > Conclusions.
    > First, in order to show that there is no discrepancy between
    > and geology, we can take any one of three positions,
    > each of which is sufficient. We may show that Moses does not fix the time
    > of the material creation; or, secondly, that his account
    > admits an indefinite period between the beginning and the first day; or,
    > thirdly, that the days stand symbolically for long periods and
    > that on the plan of description adopted by the sacred writer be could not
    > give, in all cases, the chronological order of creation.
    > Either of these positions, in the view of any unprejudiced mind,
    > vindicates the Mosaic account from any collision with
    > geology.
    > Secondly, geology furnishes very important illustrations of the Mosaic
    > account, and corroborates several truths of revelation.
    > Thirdly, still more remarkably does geology illustrate the principles
    > of natural religion, and add to its creed several doctrines
    > generally regarded as exclusively revealed.
    > Hence it is high time for believers in revelation to cease fearing
    > injury to its claims or doctrines from geology, and to be thankful
    > to Providence for providing in this science so powerful an auxiliary of
    > religion, both natural and revealed.
    > I think these answer entirely or partially all of Howard's questions
    > the first one. As for that one, the answer is all over the place in the
    > concordist tradition since Bacon and Galileo in the early 17th century.
    > "Obviously," they would have told Howard, "the book of nature and the book
    > of scripture have the same author. Therefore they must agree, when
    > interpreted." Indeed, although I am not a concordist myself, I think this
    > is probably the *strongest* reason one can give in support of *any*
    > attitude/approach toward science and theology--namely, ,the assumption
    > truth is one and has a single ultimate source.
    > ted

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