Re: YEC Destroying Faith

From: <PASAlist@aol.com>
Date: Sun Apr 18 2004 - 02:53:54 EDT

> 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.
>

Why is even an ex-YEC hung up on this? I think it is from unknowingly making
a commitment to Greek rationalism ( I don't mean just Glenn, but all of
YECism). The Greeks looked for absolute truth, "truth with a capital T" as Glenn
spelled it out earlier. The only way to achieve that level of truth is via a
starting axiom or observation and then deducing truth from it. The world around us
is too changing to give absolute truth. "You cannot step in the same river
twice," the Greeks said. but via math and logic, sure truth can be obtained.
The Bible is then defined via that rationalism as a Book with no errors of
any kind; and in a rationalistic philosophy this is a must because the whole
fabric of truth with a capital T rests on logical coherency. As in proving a
theorem in geometry, if even one step is wrong, the whole thing is destroyed.

The Bible itself, ironically, does not paint this picture of itself. The
picture YECism paints is rationalized as biblical on the basis that God is Truth;
but, that kind of one-attribute theology can lead to all kinds of false
conclusions.

To begin to think more biblically, consider God's message to David via Nathan
(2Sam 12:1 ff). Nathan tells David a story,..........a fictional
story,.......... a story that deceives David into thinking that it is a historically
accurate account of something that actually happened.
And God is complicit in this story-telling. He wants David to believe it is a
historically accurate account. Otherwise, its purpose would fail.
At the end, after Nathan announces his now famous, "Thou art the man, " I am
sure David realized that the story was fictional---even though he was sure it
was actual history just minutes before that.

In principle this is no different from Genesis 1-11. In fact, God is less
complicit in his use of preexisting science and "prehistory" in Gen 1-11 than he
is in the Nathan story which is made up from scratch whole cloth. Nor does God
evidence any intention that the history in Gen 1-11 be believed as a
revelation from HIm. The original readers probably recognized it as standard ancient
Near Eastern motifs---the only difference being the attached theology.

If a person wants to be a hardheaded rationalist: God lied to David.

What saves God's reputation after he is proven to be a liar ( I speak as a
rationalist)? The PURPOSE of the made-up fictional story. There was _no
intention_ that David should go on for the rest of his life believing the story was
true history.

What is the PURPOSE of Gen 1-11? Is it to teach geology? astronomy?
cosmology? anthropology? archaeology? What? The authors of the rest of the Bible use it
to teach theology, faith and morals. And even in itself, the contrast which
it makes with the theology of the times as to the nature of God, the
distinction between the Creator and creation, the reason for the Flood, et al. testifies
that its PURPOSE is the communication of faith and morals.

Yes, David finds out about the fictional nature of the story he was told very
shortly after he heard it; and the Church has held on to the historicity of
Gen 1-11 for the last 1600 years and more. I say 1600 because the solidity of
the firmament and the sea above it was given up shortly thereafter; and the
idea of a 6000 year old earth was largely given up (and still given up by many).
But, the time span involved between hearing the story and getting the
additional information that tells us the story is not literally accurate history is
irrelevant. The principle is the same. God can send a message by way of an
apparently true history which turns out later to be known to be false.

I suppose Glenn will say, then the Bible's history is false and there is no
basis for anything. It is all fideism. But that is not true. What is true of
Gen 1-11 is not necessarily true of the rest of the Bible. Each section must be
weighed on its own merits as to whether it is historically reliable or not. On
the whole, the Bible and especially the NT has a good basis for containing
substantially accurate history. Only in a rationalistic philosophy does the
failure of one part destroy the entire fabric.

Paul
Received on Sun Apr 18 02:55:11 2004

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