Re: YEC Destroying Faith

From: Dr. Blake Nelson <>
Date: Fri Apr 16 2004 - 12:17:45 EDT

--- Rich Blinne <> wrote:
> On Fri, 16 Apr 2004 06:12:15 -0400, "George Murphy"
> <>
> said:
> > Rich Blinne wrote:
> > > That's why I am convinced that we shouldn't be
> on a crusade about this. It
> > > is one thing to be a safety net when someone
> falls. It is yet another thing
> > > to "push" them. If we are indeed right, it is
> better for them to enter the
> > > Kingdom in error than not to enter at all.
> >
> > True - but! Unless YECs are very effective in
> shielding themselves & their
> > children from the real world, they are going to
> encounter evidence that
> > the earth &
> > universe are old, that evolution has occurrred,
> &c. Is it better for
> > them to encounter
> > that in a course taught by an atheist at a public
> university or in some
> > type of
> > presentation by a Christian?
> George, I am not against being proactive here. The
> temptation, however,
> is to be overly zealous. The "liberalism" that Glenn
> and I are concerned
> about is where it is not merely an alternative
> interpretation of
> Scripture but where the divine nature of Scripture
> itself is dismissed.

I am at a loss to think who on the list dismisses the
divine inspiration of scripture. Of course, one has
to define what that means. No tradition, at least as
far as I am aware, defines that like the Koran as
divine dictation. This may be the most pernicious
example of Bob's either/or concerns. What does one
mean by divine inspiration and what implication does
that have. I.e., if you view divine inspiration as
scripture having to reflect omniscient correctness
about all aspects of reality with which it deals --
e.g., the science is absolutely and objectively
correct, etc. -- and anything else is not "divine" in
nature, well that's a problematic either/or assertion.
 It only lessens the divine nature of scripture to
suggest there are other ways of understanding
inspiration if one is wedded to one particular view of
what divine can mean in that context.

> If I came to the conclusion that the Bible was
> merely human, then it
> would be worse than useless. It would be how I view
> the Koran. That is,
> it would be evil because it claims to be from God
> but is not.

The Koran claims to be from God (even more clearly and
umambiguously than one can say about the Bible since
it is largely a unitary text whereas the Bible is
not), but you assert it is not. What extrinsic
evidence do you use for that? Does that relate to the
extrinsic evidence one may have for the inspiration of
Hebrew and Christian scripture?

Given that the canon was chosen by the Church councils
on the basis of many things -- and one can say they
were divinely inspired in so doing -- I am still not
sure what one means that the Bible comes from God
given that the Bible is a canon of texts. One can
certainly say each of the texts that the Church has
selected for the canon are divinely inspired, somehow
to me that gives a very different emphasis to the
question than saying "the Bible came from God" which
may be a shorthand way of saying what otherwise takes
a long time to explain, but the shorthand way does
violence, I think, to understanding what the canon is.

> While we
> may disagree about how to interpret Genesis 1, it is
> undeniable that the
> Bible claims a divine origin.

Why the term origin rather than inspiration?

> If it does not have a
> divine origin, then
> it is a lie and it is morally reprehensible to
> follow it. As such,
> becoming a "liberal" as defined above really isn't
> an option. Thus, when
> discussing this with YECs or ex-YECs, an unequivocal
> support of Scripture
> being God's Word is essential.

I thought Jesus, according to John, was God's Word.
Am I wrong in thinking that? And the canon is a
divinely inspired witness to that Word, not the Word

> Otherwise, we are
> spreading atheism.

Is bibliolatry better than atheism? The Bible,
however divinely inspired, is not the Father, Son, or
Holy Ghost.

I think I have said before, the Orthodox, who venerate
the canon, would think that the emphasis on the Bible
as "divine" per se is out of place (if not heretical)
in several respects, not least of which it is Jesus of
Nazareth, the living, risen Christ, who is the
informing aspect of our faith. The canon is a Church
selected (albeit divinely inspired) witness to the
risen and living Christ, but it is not substitute for
Him nor for the Church which witnesses to Him and is
His mystical body.

I am sympathetic to the idea that they would think one
has it backwards when one looks first to the canon
rather than to Christ and His church for the basis of
one's faith. While there is an interrelated,
iterative process involving Christ, church and
scripture (as well as other things, no doubt) in
faith, one has to consider what is most important.

One should note on a lot of theological issues
Orthodoxy is by and large pretty conservative. They
are hardly liberals in any pejorative sense Glenn, et
al. may want to use in either interpretation of
scripture or veneration of scripture or morality or
church order, etc., etc., etc. As far as I am aware,
source criticism (or any other potential bogeyman
about debasing scripture) has not made much of an
impact in Orthodox theology. Yet, they have a
radically different view of the context of the canon.

> It is
> the minced support of Scripture that makes the YEC
> and ex-YEC justifiably
> suspicious of us. Our yes needs to be yes, and our
> no, no.

And I think one can thoroughly support scripture and
reject bibliolatry. Although not everyone would be
amenable to such a view at first glance and one cannot
always support a particular scripture in the
particular way that a person may want to. Heck, there
is significant disagreement in exegesis on many
theological issues not to even get into hermeneutical
issues, etc. If the disagreement on theological
issues does not undermine YECs (I trust not all YECs
have the same view about every particular piece of
theology -- I am sure there are among others
differences between pre and post trib YECs, I would
venture there may even be amillenial YECs -- if such
is the case, why would different hermeneutic
approaches undermine them in a way that exegetical
differences would not?) Why doesn't amillenialism
push people into atheism? Or does it? Is the
difference that there is more extrinsic evidence
available in the YEC issue and thus the stakes, if you
will, are in one sense higher? I don't know.
Thinking about the question logically, I am hard
pressed to find a difference between arguing against
YEC and arguing for amillenialism in context of
christian faith, but maybe I am missing something
since I have not been part of a tradition where either
debate was particularly seminal.

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Received on Fri Apr 16 12:17:57 2004

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