Re: YEC Destroying Faith

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Mon Apr 19 2004 - 20:56:27 EDT

Glenn Morton wrote:

> >
> > 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 agree that mediated creation in Gen.1 is important. I have often emphasized
that since one of my seminary profs pointed out the numerous uses of this idea in the
fathers which Messenger cites. But it ain't evolution.

> > > 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.

        Here we're back to our old argument. One needn't have poetry to make the point,
as Nathan (& other biblical parables show). & reading Gen.1 as something like the poem
or the parable is, at the least, no more forced than trying to read it as a simplified
version of an modern scientific picture. But there's probably no point in rehashing
this further. You can have the last word in round 145 if you wish.

George L. Murphy
Received on Mon Apr 19 20:59:10 2004

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