Re: serious

From: Jim Armstrong <jarmstro@qwest.net>
Date: Mon Jan 05 2004 - 21:34:08 EST

This strikes me as a tad too glib and dismissive. .

Ms. Certain is disposed to accept without question a particular version
of what the Bible seems to say (including a literal seven-day creation).
Mr. Unsure is exploring whether scripture has anything authoritative to
say to him. Mr. Unsure is not a scientist, but holds a fairly standard
view of science and discovery (including its present understandings of
origins and ages and such) - as most westerners at least probably do.

Mr. Unsure has encountered Ms. Certain who wishes to share meaningful
insights into scripture and the Christ revealed therein.

If Ms. Certain reflects a literal seven-day creation right off the bat,
there is a strong likelihood that both Ms. Certain and the message
offered will be dismissed posthaste. [Not a new thought - Augustine
articulated this concern a lot more eloquently in his own time.]

Alternatively, suppose that Ms. Certain remains mum on the
science-related topics (it is not all that important!), especially those
which are "known" to embody unorthodox science. Mr. Unsure would be none
the wiser and things would would be hunky-dory ...until the subject of
Genesis chronology and its accompanying perspectives are raised by
himself or some other member of the faith community of Ms. Certain. Now
Mr. Unsure suddenly finds he has been taken in. He is a stranger in a
foreign land, and he is forced to reassess everything else that he has
heard from this particular source, as well as the reliability of the
source itself.

That is decidedly counterproductive transaction.

I think Augustine had it right. It's not just about fun. The
consequences of how we conceptualize and communicate the nature and
discoveries of the physical world are of great consequence to at least
some. Therefore we need to get the science right to the limits of our
ability, particularly if that's a part of our own sphere of activity and
understanding, ...particularly if we want to have anything credible to
say about the spiritual dimension to anyone who has an operational
conventional science perspective. That includes a lot of folks that are
not scientists (consider how many technically trained non-scientists
there are in our digital electronic information-oriented world!).

What underlies this seems to me to be something of an integrity issue
(either nuance of "integrity"). I refuse to dissociate the matters of
science from my spiritual pilgrimage. The creation is the habitat I
occupy and am a part of. It is not without meaning and importance. I'm
not sure it's even of subordinate importance. It all fits together and
it is where we are assigned for duty. Likewise, what we have to say
about Creation is not trivial. All that we have to say about creation,
how it works, and how it might serve the Creator needs to be congruous
with what we might feel and say about the Creator himself. It is his
work and does it not deserve that? "Holy" is not a word that came as a
label with the manuscripts of the Bible. We assigned that value. Are the
matters of the physical Creation not in some sense "holy" as well as the
very handwork of the Almighty?

It seems to me that we ought to be well founded and congruous in all the
disciplines we have the capacity to think about and understand in
measure, or at least evaluate with respect to credibility and authority.
Otherwise, we may find ourselves in the position of dismissively
describing as "fun" something that other folks take very seriously
indeed. Thereby we lose our opportunity to talk persuasively about the
"really important" things.

JimA

Sheila Wilson wrote:

> Michael,
>
> That was exactly my point - we agree! Debating the age of the earth
> is fun, nothing more. The Bible does not specifically tell us the age
> of the earth, what year Adam was created, how old the stars are, or
> other information. The Bible does tell us that everything created by
> God points to God as the Creator and as our Savior and Redeemer.
> Debating is fun but we must not confuse what we know with what we
> assume. Many people have assumed that the earth was flat and young
> but the Bible does not say that. The Bible simply says that the earth
> was created - not how or when or what happened. The Bible says that
> Adam was created - not how or when or what happened.
>
> The Bible does say that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a holy,
> sinless life, and died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins.
>
> Like I said, we agree!
>
> Sheila
>
>
> Michael Roberts <michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk> wrote:
>
> Glad you liked but I was deadly serious. Clearly we do have
> observational evidence that the earth is spherical, but the
> evidence for heliocentricity is no better than for a billions of
> years old earth. Further no evidence has been advanced against an
> ancient earth - alleged evidence is always shown to be false
> (there are lots of meanings of that word!)
>
> My serious point is that the bible may not directly support a
> spherical or ancient earth - or rather gives no evidence. Thus on
> biblical grounds alone we may legitimately accept a flat and young
> earth. Once we accept a spherical earth we are bringing in
> extra-biblical arguments so why cant we do so for an ancient
> earth. The fact is that a YEC is holding a similar position to a
> flat-earther and we should say so. Strictly speaking none of these
> beliefs are necessary for a Christian BUT BUT BUT if you do accept
> a flat or young earth we make belief in Christ incredible to any
> normal person who has not had the YEC treatment.
> People are being kept from a belief in Christ as Saviour but the
> YECs insistence in believing in a young earth and that if you dont
> you cant believe in the biblical God.
>
> Michael
>
> PS I have nothing but respect for those who before the evidence
> was available believed in a flat earth(before 200BC) ,
> geocentricity (before 1550-1640)or 4000BC as the date of
> Creation(before 1800).
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Sheila Wilson <mailto:sheila-wilson@sbcglobal.net>
> To: Michael Roberts <mailto:michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk> ;
> asa@calvin.edu <mailto:asa@calvin.edu>
> Sent: Monday, January 05, 2004 12:32 PM
> Subject: Re:
>
> Cute - I really like that, honest. That's funny. Seriously,
> though, we actually have evidence that the earth is spherical,
> not flat. People have seen it. I believe the earth is
> billions of years old based on the evidence. I also
> believe in God - based on the evidence. My belief in God is
> stronger and deeper than any other belief because I have a
> deeper relationship with Him than I do with anyone or anything
> else in this world.
>
> God is silent about the age of the earth but He is not silent
> about our need for a Savior. He is not silent about my fallen
> nature and need for redemption. God leaves mysteries for us
> that fascinate me!
>
> Sheila
>
>
> Michael Roberts <michael.andrea.r@ukonline.co.uk> wrote:
>
> In the email I clarified that this went beyond the flat
> earth/spherical earth controversy. Being an astronomer, I
> agree that all the evidence points to a spherical earth
> . I prefer the spherical earth position myself but I
> honestly don't know for sure.
>
> The point of the email is that all science must be
> interpreted through God's word and through God because He
> is the absolute truth. Anything less would be heresy. As
> we all know, the Bible is not clear on the sphericity of
> the earth despite what some people proclaim. The Bible is
> clear on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus
> Christ. He is our focus all of the time. Debating the
> sphericity of the earth is fun but, despite copernican
> claims, our belief system and salvation are not hinged on
> what we believe about the shape of the earth.
>
> I personally have found that despite my belief in a
> spherical old earth, the status of my salvation has not
> changed nor has my relationship with God. I have found
> that the more I seek the truth, my relationship with God
> grows deeper.
>
> Michael
>
>
>
>
> Sheila McGinty Wilson
> sheila-wilson@sbcglobal.net
>
>
>
> Sheila McGinty Wilson
> sheila-wilson@sbcglobal.net
Received on Mon Jan 5 21:34:56 2004

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