Re: YEC Destroying Faith

From: Robert Schneider <>
Date: Fri Apr 16 2004 - 08:11:15 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Glenn Morton" <>
To: "'William Hamilton'" <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Friday, April 16, 2004 6:53 AM
Subject: RE: YEC Destroying Faith

> That is what I finally figured out, but with Genesis 1-3, I still
> haven't figured out how to have God 'accommodate" his message to false
> views as Paul Seeley's position would require. A God knowingly being
> complicite in the construction of a false story is a god I will have
> difficulty trusting. And He would be doing something I would tell my
> teenager NOT to do. Thus I would have a ethical problem with God's
> behavior.

Bob's comment:

Why is it necessary to think of a cosmological model simply in terms of
"true" or "false"? Again, this is either/or thinking, and we need to help
people move to both/and. Why not think of the cosmology of Genesis 1 as
valid and true for its own time, the way Ptolemy's cosmology was valid and
true for the next 1500 years, or the way Newton's cosmology was valid and
true for the following two hundred years, or our present model is valid and
true until it is replaced by a more accurate approximation of reality?

Would it have made any sense for God to imspire the sacred writer to
describe Einstein's universe? Would the sacred writer have understood the
inspiration, assuming some theory of direct inspiration? Would anyone
hearing or reading it have accepted such a model in 1500/500 BC? Of course
not! For one thing, they wouldn't have had the Hubble Space Telescope.
Let's give God a break on this one. I think Paul's approach is a good one,
and he has John Calvin on his side, not to speak of a number of his
predecessors (e.g., Aquinas). The sacred writer(s) was/were not teaching
science, they were teaching theology of creation. It is a problem of
interpretation of the Scriptures, as Bill recognized, not of science.

This either/or thinking is not only a problem with religious folk, it is
also a problem with some scientists (religious or not). We who are read in
the history of science grit our teeth whenever we hear a science teacher
say, for example, that the Ptolemaic model of the heavens was "false," or
when Carl Sagan said in "Cosmos" that Ptolemy set astronomy back a thousand
years. That's nonsence; the Ptolemaic model _advanced_ astronomy. We need
to help people generally understand the nature of scientific truth.

Bob Schneider
Received on Fri Apr 16 09:07:06 2004

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