God's Full disclosure (was Grand Canyon Tears America Apart )

From: Jan de Koning <jan@dekoning.ca>
Date: Mon Jan 26 2004 - 15:32:20 EST

At 12:05 PM 26/01/2004 -0500, Ted Davis wrote re "Full Disclosure"
and I deleted everything, since it has very little to do with what I want
to say.

When I first went to university (Free University in Amsterdam, Netherlands)
in 1942 as a student in mathematics, the university required of all first
year students that the to an Introduction in Philosophy course, taught by
Prof.D.H.Th. Vollenhoven. That course, and the education I received from
my father at home, guided my future, keeping me close to the Bible. The
course was important since it strengthened the education I had at
home. In connection with the subject, it meant, that from my youth on I
was taught that God spoke not only in the Bible but as well in His
creation. The two could not be contradicting each other. I still believe
that, but then the books should be read the way they were intended to be
read by the people who received them first.

As God spoke in all times, His Word is such that it could be understood
even in times when the printing and writing of books did not exist. So in
the time that there was no "science" people understood God's will and God's
care. To read these old books now as if they were intended for
twenty-first century scientists does not make any sense at all. We know
that nature gradually changes, and the fun of science is to see how that
happened. Partly, just because we want to know, but also to guide us in
the way in which we have to take care of the creation, a mandate God gave
us. When we then see what some people think to be contradictions, we have
to study more. Why are these so-called contra-dictions existing? So
people started studying old languages, old cultures, and began digging for
clues. Some results could be explained, others remain un-explained to us.

My uncle (also J.de Koning, but not Jan but Jakobus) studied the Old
Testament and found in the beginning chapters of Genesis things he could
not understand. So, he studied the old El-Amarna tablets, and other old
languages. He wrote a thick book about it in Dutch, which I will not
quote. As someone very much interested in math (he thanked his
math-teacher in his doctoral dissertation) he was struck by the large and
strange numbers in the beginning of the OT. So he went to the other
languages, and found that some things there did not quite jibe. For
example: Jericho was a small place, not bigger than a small village now,
and trying to defend it against an army which was hundreds of thousands
soldiers big did not make sense. So he went to the Egyptian sources, but
could not really find anything about a labour force of hundreds of
thousands revolting and leaving the country. Armies mentioned on the
tablets were really very small: 20 men to defend Tyrus, the army that had
to defend against Syria in Gebal was 400 men and 30 wagons, etc. Jericho
was 80 by 240 m., about 2500 inhabitants. Etc. The book has 557 pages and
I cannot even start mentioning all the points my uncle mentions. But we
should be well aware of the fact that in those times numbers were more than
numbers and had often other meanings attached. Languages were then already
diversified, writing just started, and most of history was just telling
stories, which were later written down.

It does mean,though, that even very "orthodox" Christians cannot see Gen.1
as a literal account of the creation. It is more like a poetic song to
celebrate the knowledge that God created. When then we read about the
Flood, we realize that it was the story as it was told through the
generations, and important is only the fact that we know that God punishes
when mankind is leaving Him. That should be strongly repeated now that
indeed mankind can be destroyed by one nation at the push of a button. It
is not man doing that then, but God who wants to be served by a humble Him
serving people, and not by a so-called world-power. As Christians we
should be aware of that, and live humbly before Him, serving Him.

So when we do study science we do so as His children. That means, that we
realize that old books are written by people for people that did not study
science. They would not have understood (nor do we) if we had read in the
Bible about a Big Bang hundreds of million years ago. Actually, does any
of us really know what 1000 years is? Even when we talk about one of our
forefathers living 700 years ago in a place named Ghent? However, as
scientists we see processes, and calculate, and come to a huge number of
years. Digging we find things which are from before the times anyone wrote
things down, so we go by how processes work and calculate. Men always did
that, and God let them write down some of it in a way that people living in
the time that it was written down could understand. Or, like Jesus, they
told stories to make people wise. Still, God keeps on telling of His
immense powers: He can split rocks and mountains, make continents drift,
etc. Who are we to question those things?

My wish is, that all of us study Christian Philosophy. I believe that once
all of us do that we could talk easier together. Many scientists have not
studied God's Word, and studied (in Christian Philosophy) what it means in
their area, thinking they can read the Bible as a science report. Others,
theologians, think that knowing the Bible as the Word of God, forgetting
about the other Word of God, Nature, forget about knowing how God works in
Nture. All, should learn to talk better to each other.

And, I? I want to know more about how we should relate to each other. All
of us are sinning, but all of us are studying as well. We should study why
some one else is saying what they say. Unfortunately, most
"fundamentalists" (and I am a fundamentalist as well) do not want to
listen carefully to others and their reason for coming to conclusions. My
conclusions are firstly based on the Bible, as I learned to read it, as a
book written in different times for different people first and us secondly,
and secondly on what we see in God's book of nature. So there is
evolution, there are millions of years of natural history, and there are
men, all men, who are limited in knowledge and power. Still, when our King
Jesus, who died for our sins and shortcomings comes back, we will know.

Jan de Koning
Received on Mon Jan 26 15:24:02 2004

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