Re: YEC Destroying Faith

From: Howard J. Van Till <>
Date: Mon Apr 19 2004 - 21:14:30 EDT

On 4/19/04 8:12 PM, "Glenn Morton" <> wrote:

> . . . . When he [Luis Alvarez] died, a scientific meeting chose to give a
> moment of silence in his memory. His son stood up and said, "He would far
> prefer a good fight" I think my children will say that about me. :-)
Some years ago someone taped a Dennis the Menace cartoon on my office door.
It pictured Dennis showing his Dad a peculiarly colored page from his
coloring book. Dennisıs comment was, ³I like to color outside of the lines
because thereıs a lot more room there.² I would like my children to have
that cartoon printed in my funeral program.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Howard J. Van Till []
>> Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 10:09 AM
>> Glenn, would I be correct to infer that when a YEC says that "the Bible is
>> divinely inspired" he/she is saying that "the Bible's information content
>> has either been communicated to the writers directly from the Divine Data
>> Base or, if information is drawn from the writer's own memory or knowledge,
>> it has been checked by God for accuracy and declared to be fully true"? Is
>> that what it means when a YEC says "the Bible is God's Written Word"?
>> GRM: I think that probably is close. When you tell a YEC that the Bible is
>> erroneous, the error is then ascribed to God. To tell a 'liberal' (Non
>> perjoritive, Blake) that there is an error in the Bible they ascribe it to
>> man.
Thanks, Glenn. I think thatıs a succinct and fairly accurate way of putting
it. I presume that you would also admit that you would -- on this one issue
at least -- respond in essentially the same way as a YEC with respect to the
issue of the historical & scientific accuracy of the biblical text. I assume
thatıs why you prefaced your remarks with ³The YEC logic (and I still think
it is good).² You are on a mission to speak to your old YEC community and I
commend you for it.

Now, hereıs the connection with the thread on ³coercion.² As I see it,
this concept of biblical inspiration is an example of a coercive form of
divine action. Godıs inspiring action is presumed (with or without warrant)
by YECıs and many others in the evangelical Christian community to be ³fully
determinative of some particular outcome [in this case the fully accurate
information content of the biblical text] by superseding or overpowering the
natural causal system [here ³natural causal system² = human beings writing
material that would eventually be chosen (again by coercive divine action to
ensure the correct choices by the ancient Hebrews and the early Christian
community) for inclusion in the Christian canon.]² Variations on this theme
include both concordism (the ancient text and modern science must agree) and
theories of divine accommodation (God purposely chose to accommodate the
text to the conceptual vocabulary of the writer).

Now, as I have said before, I treasure the biblical text for what it can
tell me about the beliefs and practices of the ancient Hebrews and the early
Christian community, but I see no warrant whatsoever for this concept of
biblical inspiration. Maybe thatıs why I can no longer speak effectively to
YECıs. What I want to say to them would be tuned out as heresy. What they
want to hear from me would require me to compromise my integrity.

> [As an aside, let me add that several years ago I left the Christian Reformed
> Church and joined a congregation that describes itself as an ³independent,
> liberal church.² I am happy to wear the label ³liberal Christian,² although I
> prefer the label ³progressive Christian.² :) ]
Howard Van Till
Received on Mon Apr 19 21:14:49 2004

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