RE: YEC Destroying Faith

From: Glenn Morton <>
Date: Mon Apr 19 2004 - 20:04:57 EDT

> -----Original Message-----
> From: George Murphy []
> Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 7:28 AM
> To: Glenn Morton
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: YEC Destroying Faith
> I agree with your first sentence, & with the need to be
> able to make contact
> with YECs in crisis. But sometimes (as here) you seem so
> concerned about being able to
> communicate with YECs that the question of whether or not
> arguments are correct takes 2d
> place.

One should care for the individual first.

> > But given that ancient Greeks had some rudimentary understanding of
> > evolution, one can't claim that the Hebrews were so stupid as to be
> > unable to understand such concepts.
> I never said or implied that the Hebrews were stupid,
> or even that none of them
> in the OT period had any evolutionary concepts.

Don't take this personally. It was an argument against the position, not
you. The idea that God couldn't tell the Hebrews the truth because of
their technological backwardness rates a zero on my scale. I didn't see
you say anything like that but others here do, and this is a commonly
made assertion

The question
> is, pure and simple,
> whether or not there is any indication of biological
> evolution - slow extinction of some types & emergence of
> others - in Genesis 1. & there isn't.
> If you disagree, show me where it is. Is there
> anything in the OT or
> intertestamental literature or early rabbinic stuff that
> shows that Gen.1 was
> interpreted in that way?

As I have said many times, the fact that God delegated the job of
bringing forth life to the land and water is my evidence. That is
something YECs don't notice in their readings. And frankly, I don't buy
the argument that the ancients had to understand the statements in
Scripture as meaning such and such in order to propose an
interpretation. The Jews didn't understand the Messianic prophecies yet
we today have little doubt that they referred to a suffering messiah,
not an earthly king as they understood it. But, if it will make you
feel better, this is Nachmanides,

He decreed that there be among the products of the earth a force which
grows and bears seed so that the species should exist forever. It is
possible that the name 'earth' mentioned in the first verse already
contains a hint that a force which causes things to grow should spring
up from the earth, and it was from this force that the foundations of
all vegetations according to their kinds emanated. From them sprang the
grass and trees in the garden of Eden, and from them came those in the
world. " Nachmanides, Commentary on the Torah, " transl. By Dr. Charles
B. Chavel, (New York: Shilo Publishing co., 1971) p. 40

Now, the species exist forever isn't evolution, but the force bringing
forth life does hint of what we think happened in evolution. So, at
least in some of the Medieval Rabbinic tradition, this view was there.

> > I think it is irrelevant.
> It is of course profoundly relevant to questions that
> are crucial here:
> 1) Can texts that are not accounts of actual
> historical events be true?
> 2) Can 2 accounts (e.g., a scientific account of
> origins and either Gen.1 or 2)
> disagree then they are both read as narratives
> of events that actually
> took place but both be true when one or both
> understood to be a
> different type of text?
> But I can guess why you don't want to answer the
> question. It's silly just to
> say "Whitman was wrong," but if what he wrote conveys truth
> then the answer to question
> 1 is "Yes." (Of course there are many other texts that could
> be used here - e.g., as
> Paul pointed out, Nathan's story.) & if the answer to 1 is
> "Yes" then the answer to 2
> is also "Yes." & then the claim that Genesis 1 & 2 can be
> true only if they are
> scientifically & (for Gen.2) historically correct accounts
> falls to the ground.
> & to this you may say "The YECs won't buy it." Perhaps
> not. But 1st let's
> decide what's true to the best of our ability. Then we can
> talk about how to use that
> knowledge & how to address YECs.

I think it is irrelevant to the point because the use of the Captain my
Captain poem doesn't really address the issue. I will grant that poetic
forms can state truth, but to assume that that is what we have in
Genesis is to assume the conclusion. And Genesis 1 doesn't look like a
captain my captain type of poem.
Received on Mon Apr 19 20:05:03 2004

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