RE: YEC Destroying Faith

From: Glenn Morton <glennmorton@entouch.net>
Date: Sun Apr 18 2004 - 08:20:55 EDT

 Hi Paul,
 
 I wondered when you were going to get involved. :-)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu
> [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of PASAlist@aol.com
> Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2004 1:54 AM

> 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.

Rationalism yes. Absolute truth from nature, no. I do believe in Greek
formulations of logic in that in the macroscopic world, things are
either true or false not both. (true the quantum world gets fuzzy, but
we aren't talking about that area).

I find it so weird, bizarre, so incomprehensible that grown men think
that a document is true which says nothing scientifically or
historically true about creation, save the simple statement that God
created. If put in a modern court of law such a witness would be
accused of perjury.

Remember Paul, the opposite of rationalism is irrationalism. I prefer
the former. :-)

 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;

The YECs do that, I don't. I simply ask for some simple historical
truth. It is frankly, stupid, for people to claim that God needed to
provide a copy of Thornton, Misener and Wheeler's tome entitled
Gravitation to the Hebrews in order to avoid having an untrue account of
creation. God could have inspired the writer to write a 3rd grade story
of what actually happened. Shoot, our textbook writers do it for every
single grade level and they are not accused of accommodating their views
to that of the students. We don't want them to accommodate the truth to
the views of a 3rd grader. Why do we expect God to do the same? I
think, this denigrates God, and his message.

and in a rationalistic philosophy this
> is a must because the whole fabric of truth with a capital T
> rests on logical coherency.

I would be happy with truth with a small t. A and non-A can't be
simultaneously true in the macroscopic world. If so, I would like my
tuition back for the several graduate courses in logic and symbolic
logic I took several years ago. A false document can't be revered as
true. That is silly.

 As in proving a theorem in
> geometry, if even one step is wrong, the whole thing is destroyed.

We aren't talking geometry. We are talking history. As currently
interpreted by both YECs and OECs Genesis has not a shred of historical
truth. The framework theory and the YEC view are equally bad in my view.

>
> 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.

Even if you are correct, Paul, that is where they are. Telling them to
give up a very important basis of their epistemology
--rationalism--simply pushes them to atheism. Do you remember the
reaction I had to your book? You came close to convincing me that you
were correct in what you wrote. And the only logical conclusion I could
draw from your being write was to give up Christianity. I finally
decided you were wrong for the reasons above. We don't expect 3rd grade
textbook writers to accommodate the message to the science of a 3rd
grader. We expect him to accommodate his message to the level of
understanding of a 3rd grader. There is a vast, vast difference between
the two.

>
> 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.

There is a huge difference. If Genesis 1 is fictional, then rrationality
would lead one to believe that it isn't true.

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

If any lying were done, Nathan did it. The Bible is reporting it.

>
> What saves God's reputation after he is proven to be a liar (
> I speak as a rationalist)?

This is a bit of a strawman don't you think?

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?

NO! to teach a simple but TRUE story of creation. I have over and over
given examples of what I am referring to. God could have inspired the
writer to say, "out of the mud came life" which is what I think is being
said when God said, 'Let the land bring forth living creatures.' That
captures the scientific truth in a very simple fashion.

> astronomy? cosmology? anthropology? archaeology? What?

It is frustrating to have said this about 20 times to you over the past
several years. Please try to remember it this time.

GOD, LIKE US, CAN COMMUNICATE TRUTH IN A SIMPLE FASHION THAT DOESN'T
REQUIRE THE HEARER TO HAVE A PH.D.!

You have a false dichotomy Paul. All your position is based upon a false
dichotomy.

Snip

> 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.

Well one could say that God accommodated his message to the
understanding of the Roman empire's most ignorant peoples, who believed
that people could actually rise from the dead. He really didn't mean
them to take that seriously.
Received on Sun Apr 18 08:23:32 2004

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